Why are there so many ‘alligators’ on Texas roads?

Weather & Traffic In-Depth

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Driving on most Central Texas highways, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered an “alligator” in the road.

Well, not an actual alligator, but at a quick glance they kind of look like one. We’re talking about tire shreds.

Tire shred is the leftover sheath of rubber when a tire falls apart. They’re a result of tire retreading. Instead of putting new tires on an 18-wheeler, retreading can be done instead. Retreaded truck tires represent a savings of over $2 billion each year for North American trucking and transportation companies.

Tire retreading is done by applying new rubber to an existing tire, so it’s like a “refurbished” tire, according to treadwright.com.

Retreading is better for the environment. A retreaded tire contains 75% of post consumer material, according to retread.org. It takes over 20 gallons of oil to manufacture one new truck tire, while it only takes seven gallons of oil to produce a retread, according to STTC.com.

Tires can shred for various reasons like low tire pressure, overloaded hauls or highway hazards.

If you see a tire shred in front of you, slow down and safely switch lanes. One of the best ways to prevent an accident is to avoid driving next to large trucks for an extended period of time. If a truck’s tire explodes when you are next to them, it can strike your windshield and cause serious injuries.

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