Do truck tires really need to be flat black?

I had a though the other night on the freeway at 75 mph. It was right after I ran over a large fragment of truck tire that was stretched out across the lane. There were tire pieces all over the place, but at night against the asphalt they were only visible about 30 feet ahead. Why can’t truck tires be coated with reflective material inside and out? Fragments would easily be visible at night from a much greater distance and drivers would have a much better chance of avoiding them.

Interesting idea, but it would undoubtedly add cost. I suspect it would be hard to add enough reflective material to be useful without altering the properties of the rubber. Tires are much more complicated than they might seem.

Or better yet, heavily fine the drivers and truck owners and operators who fail to monitor and maintain their tires. The “Goodyear Gaitors” crawling on the highways are “cold caps,” i.e., new tread rubber bonded to worn out carcasses and while they can be safe and reliable when properly maintained ignoring pressures and the early signs of a failing tire results in rubber in the road.

As for the color, tread rubber must have a great deal of carbon black to give it significant life. The tread would wear out quickly without it.

Or, you COULD drive within the limitations of your headlights to illuminate the road.

At 75 on a dark night, you probably were driving too fast to react to an object in your path once it is illuminated by your headlights…which is why you hit it.

Now–full disclosure–I probably outdrive my headlights from time to time myself, so I’m not chastising you necessarily…just saying that, if you choose to drive that fast at night, expect to hit things from time to time.

Now, if you were driving in the rural SW…open range cattle states…I’d be much more inclined to slow down at night!!! (Almost center-punched an Elk on the Ute reservation once…probably stopped with 10’ to spare!)

I’m with Rod on this. Recaps on trucks should be banned, period, with heavy fines if a truck is caught with them.

That’s a good idea. But my question is how many serious accidents do these tires cause every year. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t these recaps that are coming apart? I understand they get flats on the dual tires and don’t know it until.they overheat. This issue should have be resolved a long time ago.

I think it’s a quality control issue…The airlines use tires that have been recapped multiple times without ANY problems…They are able to do this because the tires go back to the factory where recapping the tire can be done meeting ridged quality and safety standards…Maybe because the tires on an airplane are only subject to stress for a minute or two while an over the road truck never stops, the tires are stressed hour after hour and heat can build up causing the cap to fail…

Ah ha, TPMS for the trailers. Although I think the recaps start coming off before the tire deflates. In heavy traffic those suckers can be a real hazard. Even if you see 'em, you can’t get out of the way. And on some low slung cars, they can do some damage underneath if you just run over them.

^How about the Mythbusters testing “Can a thrown truck tread hurt a motorcyclist?”

About as emphatic a “confirmed” as you can get!

Yeah, that and deer, and bottles, and shovels, etc. Saw a mattress in the road once too. That would be a fun ride on a cycle. We hit a rocking chair in the middle of the road once-nobody in it
though. We just finished our freshman year but had to lay over a couple days to sing for something yet, so we decided to take off 200 miles for my house and go see the U of MN because one of the guys had never been there. So about 4:00 in the morning we crested a hill and there was the ole rocking chair. Nothing to do but make total kindling out of it. Kids.

I don t think it would be cost efficient to send truck tires to the factory for re caps. just ban them on the highways, plenty of use for them in other applications such as yard trucks and trucks on farms and mining sites, etc…

I’m with Wes on this. We who drive cars are subjected to countless safety requirements costing large on our vehicles, it’s time the truckers get subjected to at least requiring new tires rather than recaps.

I was in he left lane on a divided highway a while back and a road gator came off a big rig tire and flew into my lane. Fortunately, I was paying attention, there was a sufficient shoulder no the road, and the weather was clear, and I was able to avoid getting hit by it. Had had there been a Jersey barrier instead of a shoulder, had the weather been bad, had I not been paying attention, or had I had an SUV and not been safely able to swerve, it would have resulted in an accident for certain. Carnage on the roads in order that the truckers can save some money is unacceptable IMHO.

On the subject of those gators causing accidents, several years ago when driving late and tired in the right lane with little traffic a full length of tread appeared ahead and my instinct was to avoid it so I moved to the right enough to clear it but the loose gravel on the shoulder caused me to lose control of the car and plow into the ditch. Luckily the ditch bank was not too steep and I was able to drive ahead and back into the road with no damage to the car, myself or the passengers. In the years since that incident an important person must have complained about the problem because I regularly see trucks patrolling that highway to pick up gators and other trash and debris.

Recaps are banned in other developed countries (Europe?).
I would think the airplane recaps are inspected on a very conservative protocol.

I think it’s only recaps that come apart like that. Any ideas why these haven’t been banned by now?

It is not “only recaps” that come apart.
Recaps are in no danger of being banned. In fact the Federal Government strongly encourage their use.

Tire carcasses on the roadway come just as much from new tires as recaps. Tire carcasses in general account for only a small amount of all road debris.
Please read up on the facts before proposing wholesale bans that would substantially drive up the cost of commercial transportation. Costs that are ultimately passed on to the consumer.

A lot more information can be found here:

xman said: “I think it’s only recaps that come apart like that. Any ideas why these haven’t been banned by now?”

Yes, because they are extremely cost effective. and they aren’t the cause of the problem.

First, it isn’t the recap that is coming apart. It is the casing that happens to have been recapped. This generally results because the tire has been punctured and come apart due to underinflation.

So you should be advocating mandatory TPMS’s for trucks.

BTW, recaps are only banned on the FRONT of trucks. To my knowledge, they are NOT banned ANYWHERE else - either in the US or Europe. In fact, it is common for trucks to use recaps, They perform admirably, with very few failures. As I pointed out, many studies have revealed that most of the failures are due to punctures, not the recaps or the recap process.

Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble.

if punctured, the re caps come apart relatively easily, correct?

I think the point is it’s tires that lost pressure that fail, new or recapped. Since many of the tires are recaps, many of the failures will be to recaps. If you see any belting on the debris, it’s not because it was a recap. Recapping only puts rubber back on, no belting.

all the debris I see is from re caps…