What should you do if you have a tire blowout? Different people will answer this question differently. Some will suggest calling the traffic police. Others might tell you to look around in search of a tire repair shop. Very few will give you tips using which you can rectify the problem on your own.
That is precisely what this article aims to do. It has some handy tips using which you can prepare yourself for dealing with a situation in which you’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing but your vehicle and its blown-out tire. But it doesn’t stop at that.
We have also come up with a comprehensive step-by-step guide on dealing with a tire blowout. One that contains everything you need to remove the blown-out tire from its wheel and replace it with the one lying in your car’s boot.
What Should You Do If You Have A Tire Blowout?
Follow these step-by-step instructions to survive a tire blowout:
Step 1: Do not panic
What is the best thing you can do in the immediate aftermath of a tire blowout? Absolutely nothing. Don’t slam on the brakes. Don’t turn the steering wheel to pull your vehicle off the road. Don’t take your foot off the accelerator.
All these actions might cause you to lose control over the vehicle. Your car might spin out if you end up doing any of these. That’s why, in the first few seconds after you have heard a blast, you should take deep breaths and try to stay as calm as possible.
Step 2: Keep the car going straight
When facing a tire blow out, the first thing many people try to do is to turn the steering towards one side. That approach can be deadly. Your tire has already blown out and trying to turn the car in such a scenario might cause the wheels to overcorrect – increasing the chances of an accident.
Once the tire has blown out, the car will be pulling to one side. It will be crucial then that you stop the vehicle from having its way. You can do that by gripping the steering wheel with both hands. Have the left hand at 10 and the right hand at 2. This will steer the vehicle straight.
Step 3: Gently take your foot off the gas pedal
Don’t yank your foot off the accelerator. You need your car to retain its forward momentum to regain control over it. Slightly decrease the pressure you’re applying on the accelerator without taking the whole pressure off it.
After you feel that the vehicle is back under control, take your foot off the accelerator. You may have noticed that we didn’t make any mention of brakes to slow down the car. That’s because applying the brakes while the tire has just blown out can be deadly.
Step 4: Let the car slow down naturally
Once you have taken your foot off the accelerator, your vehicle’s speed will automatically decrease before coming down to zero within thirty seconds. At this point you might want to turn on the emergency lights to inform the drivers who are coming behind you that you’re decelerating.
During this entire period, don’t take your hands off the steering wheel. Keep steering the vehicle straight and resist the temptation of applying the brakes too.
Final Step: Gently apply the brakes
When your car’s speed has come below 30 mph, gently apply the brakes. Give the indicator and turn the vehicle towards the road’s hard shoulder. After the car has stopped, take a deep breath and call traffic police or anyone you want for help.
How to avoid a tire blowout?
Here are some tips using which you can avoid a tire blowout:
- Double-check tire pressure: One of the biggest causes of tire blowouts is under inflation. Tires that have less pressure than recommended flex more than properly inflated tires. This flex then generates heat which ultimately leads to a blowout.
- Don’t drive worn-out tires: Old tires with a damaged tread are also prime candidates for a blowout. The thinness of the tread exposes the tire’s inner rubber to more heat, which in turn cracks and may cause the tire to blow out.
- Avoid potholes while driving: Tires that repeatedly hit potholes are susceptible to losing their alignment and de-shape quickly than their peers whose drivers keep it safe while driving. That’s why you should keep your driving style in check.
- Monitor tire’s sidewall: In extremely rare cases, tire blowout has nothing to do with the condition of its tread or your driving style. It may be that the sidewall of the tires has cuts, grooves, or tracks from excessive use – those that might expand and cause blowouts at high speed.
- Rotate tires every 10,000kms: Uneven tread wear can also lead to tire blowouts. You can prevent it from happening by rotating your tires once every 10,000kms. Or you may go through your tire’s manual for more specific recommendations.
- Drive slow when it’s hot out there: Most drivers associate tire blowouts with summer. They aren’t wrong. The combination of high temperatures and massive vehicle speed might create a cocktail whose climax may be a blown-out tire.
Nobody should take the problem of tire blowout lightly. An estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the number of people who lose their lives due to tire blowouts at over 400. The same report claims that over 75,000 accidents take place due to the same problem.
Hence the reason why in addition to knowing what you should do in the first few seconds after a tire blowout, you should also be aware of steps taking, which you can minimize the chances of a tire blowout. Only then can you be sure of you and your loved ones’ safety.