Having to repair or replace a tyre on a highway or a dark backroad can also be not only terrifying but extremely dangerous. On a highway, you are dealing with drivers pushing the speed limit and on a secluded byway, you are dealing with low light conditions. Hundreds of people changing the tyre on the side of the vehicle that is open to the road are severely injured or worse as a result of these factors.
For example, there was a case of a man in the east of Australia who was driving his van along the side of a road at 70 km/h when his van’s tyre blew. Instead of stopping and fixing the tyre, he continued driving his van at 70km/h and struck a number of trees, causing severe head injuries to three 15 year old schoolgirls, and four 16 year old schoolgirls, who were walking along side the road. The parents of one of the 16 year old schoolgirls reported that their daughter had said she had a puncture. The parents then went along the side of the road and contacted a friendly van driver who was travelling along the back of the van, to repair the tyre. When the parents returned to the van, they found that their daughter had been seriously injured and was unable to continue walking.
On a dark backroad, there is no steering and there is a high probability that the tyre will blow, if you are not paying close attention to the road. There are no speed limits and a road could be impassable with a flat tyre. You should always carry spare tyres and have a repair kit with you at all times.
If there is an accident, it is difficult to prove that you were driving dangerously, because you were not driving at a safe speed. You should have had a mechanic at the accident site to look at the tyre and repair it, but in most cases, the police say they saw nothing.
It is a terrible thing to be in an accident and the parents of the three girls killed here lost their precious daughters. But it is not just the families who lose. It is the friends, work colleagues and community who are affected, because people will stop to talk to you, invite you to social functions, ask you to show your vehicle at work. And everyone will miss you.
The van driver was tried and convicted and given an eight month suspended sentence, with two years of probation. The judge said it was clear that the van driver’s speed was a factor, but this was just a factor in a system that allows too many people to drive at dangerously high speeds on our roads. There needs to be a complete redesign of road laws, in the US specifically, to prevent another tragedy like this.