What can I do if wheels fell off a truck and came toward my car?

The flying wheel syndrome happens so fast, that the average person virtually has no time to react. And as a trained technician in the transportation industry, I put the blame on poor maintenance as the reason.

2000 words  6.5-minute read  3 PARTS

Here is a Comment from a Toyota RA-4 driver.: I had only seconds to react after a runaway truck tire came barreling at them on the highway. Unfortunately, they either didn’t see it or couldn’t react in time and ended up flying down the road.

But then a person has to ask, “Could poor maintenance by transport companies be the cause of wheels falling off-highway trucks? Or is the trucking industry getting a bum rap because of negative publicity always pointed in their direction?”

If I‘m right and it’s poor maintenance then this problem is not an accident it’s negligent plain and simple and should be treated as such.

But again if you’re observant enough you’ll see tires and wheels on the side of the road that don’t belong to big trucks. They belong to small utility trailers, campers, and boat trailers and yes even an ambulance is not exempt.  CLICK HERE.

In my professional estimation wheels that come off, vehicles are caused by poor maintenance, regardless of what vehicle they come off of. As of writing this story another set of wheels hit and demolished a car but luckily that story had a better outcome than most. Nobody was injured.

Wheel fell off a dump trailer Photoshop by D. Wettlaufer

This true story of flying truck wheels is what put me on this topic.

Before starting my daily work routine’ I’m doing the morning drive-around in our yard. I spotted a long-hauler truck combo unit parked at the far end of the yard, flat-bed B-trains fully loaded with round bales of hay.

Having a highway truck in our yard is not unusual. If a driver is tired or needs a rest we encourage truckers to park their rigs in our two-acre yard. Most truckers driving up and down past our yard knew this was a haven for all truck drivers.

What made this day different was that, as I was driving around this parked unit I noticed he was missing a set of wheels on the back axle of his trailer. After seeing this, I immediately woke the driver up and excitedly asked him, “Where did you lose these wheels?”

I’m not sure the driver said!

The driver had no idea they were missing. I told the now-concerned driver we had better find them and off we went looking for these wheels. “Which way did you come from, so we can backtrack your route.” After searching the highway ditches.

We discovered his lost wheels twenty miles down a major and normally busy highway. He caused no accidents or fatalities which was the biggest concern to all.

When the wheels came loose and left his trailer, as luck would have it, he was going through a rock cut with no highway traffic on either side of the road. The wheels must have hit the side of the rock face and bounced in the air and ended 50 feet on top of the rock cut.

flying truck wheels sitting on top of a rock-cut

It was one ugly set of wheels perched on top of a granite mountain. A grim reminder of mishaps on our highways and after 20 years they’re most likely still sitting in the same spot. But the runaway wheels from that trailer never caused any major mishaps, which was a concerning factor.

This particular story is old, but these runaway tires and wheels on the highway are still only too real today. Big trucks, small trucks, cars and yes, even small utility boat trailers are all culprits.

When asking the question on the web what is the major cause of wheels separating from a vehicle?  “Defective Parts” is always the known reason. So even though “defective parts” come into play by some people thinking, in my estimation most of these accidents are caused by poor maintenance by real people.

And if that’s the case call it what it is, negligent on someone’s part.

As of today, not many weeks go by that you don’t hear somewhere, someplace a wheel has disconnected from a vehicle, causing a bad accident. And that starts a chain reaction of unpredictable catastrophic events. Sometimes with deadly results! The United States is not exempt from this problem that we have in Canada. (LINK)

So as many of these accidents are blamed on truck wheels falling off like at the start of my story, it’s only because the trucking industry gets more publicity. In all fairness, they are a targeted business of choice for any fatality on our highways. Putting all the blame on the truck industry is not necessarily accurate!

Flying Truck Wheels part two

Could Partial Blame Be Put On Car Owners And Their Bad Habits

“One More Chapter