You’re driving along without a care in the world when suddenly BAM! You’ve just had a tire blowout on you. Your vehicle is still cruising along, minus a tire. What the heck do you do?
Tire Blowout on Road or Highway; What To Do
1. Drive Straight. Keep steering the car in the same direction and look straight ahead. The car will try and pull to one side but do your best to keep it going straight. A blown tire means that one corner of your car is now a couple of inches lower, making everything unstable. To make things worse, you may have tread separation. This happens when the tread pulls away from the rest of what’s left. It may feel safer, but it’s still dangerous. The worst thing you can do is yank on the steering wheel in an attempt to turn the car.
2. Give Your Car More Gas. This may seem nuts, but when a tire blows it adds lots of resistance. This can cause your car to decelerate so fast that it will feel like you’ve slammed on the brakes. Because its resistance is all in one corner, your car will want to go around that corner. You still need to get as much control over the car as you can, so don’t floor it but give enough gas to counter the deceleration that occurs from the blown tire.
3. Determine if it’s Your Front or Rear Tire. You need to know if it’s a front tire or a back tire. You will be able to feel which corner of the car is lower.
4. Ease Up on Accelerator. You’re still driving straight, and you know which tire blew out, you can now smoothly ease off on the accelerator. You can get the car to slow down further by pressing the brakes just enough to get the speed under control. If you brake too much, you may end up in a spin. This isn’t ideal at highway speeds. Try and get to a safe speed before you proceed. With a rear tire blowout, you’ll need to slow down even more to prevent a loss of control that can occur with a slight movement of the steering wheel.
5. Pull Car Over Safely. After you’ve slowed right down, work your way over to the shoulder, but don’t turn the steering wheel sharply. Try and pull over to the side that has the flat, so you won’t be working with your back to traffic as you change the tire.
How to Prevent a Tire Blowout
You know how you’re warned to check tire pressure and inflation? There’s a good reason. Doing so can do a lot to prevent this situation. Think of the tires on your car like rubber bands. If a rubber band sits outside on the sidewalk, it will start to crack and lose elasticity. Your tires will do the same. Tires that aren’t inflated properly will flex more than they should. That added to a loss in elasticity makes a blow out more likely.