A tire blowout when traveling on the interstate or highway is one of the most dangerous automotive experiences a driver can face. Most drivers’ instinct is to slam on their brakes and pull off onto the shoulder during a tire blowout. Those two first responses are probably the worst things you can do, especially if a rear tire is blown out. Turning the wheel at high speed increases the likelihood that the car will spin out or even roll.
Here are the best practices when managing a tire blowout:
The first step is always to remain calm. Staying confident and calm is easier said than done -how is one supposed to keep calm during a tire blowout? Maintaining composure is a crucial part of keeping you and your passenger safe. Panicking and slamming on your brakes could make the situation worse.
Steer straight. When a tire blows out, the car will pull to one side. Grip the wheel firmly with both hands at 10 and 2 and steer it straight. You might feel the car wobble or fishtail, but it is essential to resist the urge to turn the wheel sharply. The goal is to keep the vehicle straight.
Accelerate. This advice goes against our instincts and feels counter-intuitive. Pressing the accelerator for an instant will allow you to stabilize the car. The car will not gain any additional speed, no matter how long you press the accelerator. The dragging force of a flat tire won’t allow your vehicle to accelerate adequately.
Decelerate gently. Try not to slam on the breaks and decelerate your vehicle gently.
Pull your vehicle over. When the car has successfully slowed, move to the side of the road safely away from traffic. Put your vehicle in the park gear, pull the parking brake, and turn on your emergency lights. If it’s safe to do so, put road flares around your vehicle.
Change the tire or get help. If you have a spare tire and plenty of safe space to work, change your tire. Or call for professional roadside assistance.
An excellent first step is always to educate yourself on tire blowout preventative measures. Learn about your tires and keep a note of when you bought them and their recommended lifespan/mileage. Stay on top of your regular tire maintenance with your automotive specialist. We will ensure to rotate your tires, check for holes, and check that your tires are properly inflated. We also recommend that you educate yourself on your vehicle’s tire pressure and regularly check to ensure they meet manufacturers’ recommendations. It’s best to always have a spare tire in your car and never drive on an old, worn, or flat tire. The bottom line is high-quality tires, and a little bit of due diligence can prevent most tire blowout situations.