FHP advises tire checks after wrecks clog I-75

Blown tire
Blown tire

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is calling on drivers to check their tires after a series of Sunday wrecks injured several people and created a huge backup on I-75. 

According to FHP, a motor home pulling a trailer was traveling northbound on I-75 near Lake City around 1:15 p.m. when a tire blew on the driver’s side. That caused the rig to veer and strike the guardrail, rotate, and overturn before coming to rest partly in the median and partly blocking the southbound lanes.

In addition, debris from the motor home hitting the guardrail flew into southbound lanes and struck two passing cars. 

Miraculously, the four people in the motor home only suffered minor injuries. 

“The trooper that investigated said he was surprised no one was seriously injured,” FHP spokesman Patrick Riordan said in a phone interview. 

Riordan said officers cleared the northbound lanes in about 45 minutes, but traffic remained heavy for about five hours—exacerbated by several secondary collisions in the same area. The southbound backup grew to a length of five miles, but the northbound backup stretched for some 15 miles, Riordan said. 

“We work hard at opening the roadway as quickly as possible, because we know people want to get from point A and point B as quickly as possible, but people are not helping themselves when their attention is on what’s happening on the side of the road,” Riordan said. “The best course of action is to focus on what’s on the road [or] maybe pick a better route so they don’t get in the backup.”

Riordan said the incident serves as a good reminder to check tires, especially on RVs and trailers, before setting out for summer recreation. Older tires with ample tread may have dry rot—which hot temperatures and heavy loads make extra dangerous.

“Make sure your tires are road-worthy,” Riordan advised. “You can do that by looking at the manufacture date that’s stamped on the side of the tire and a close visual inspection.” 

Short videos are available on YouTube to explain how to read the information on the side of a tire. 

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