How to Safely Handle a Tire Blowout

tire blowout iStockphoto.jpgWith its accompanying loud bang and immediate change in vehicle maneuverability, the surprise of a tire blowout endangers drivers who have had little to no training in how to handle such an event. Tire blowouts can be attributed to approximately 535 fatalities and 23,000 collisions each year according to Michelin. 

In our quest to give you, “Trusted Advice ~ Reliable Solutions”, we at the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, urge you to read on for how to be prepared for when a tire blowout occurs. Knowing how to handle a tire blowout can make the difference between simply changing a tire and finding oneself in a ditch or worse.

1.    Know the common causes of tire blowout

A tire blowout can happen because of under inflation of the tires, hitting a pothole or curb or running over a sharp object. So, make sure to regularly check the pressure in your tires and drive defensively, by avoiding potholes, curbs and debris on the road.

2.    Be Prepared

Because of the element of surprise inherent in a tire blowout, it is important to drive with both hands on the wheel at all times. One hand on the wheel and a sandwich in the other while driving is a recipe for disaster.

3.    Stay Calm

When the blowout happens, maintain a level head. Staying calm will keep you from over-reacting and potentially making matters worse.

4.    NEVER do these two things

While instinctively, your first reaction may be to take your foot off the gas and apply the brake as hard you can, these would be the worse things you could do.

a.    Slamming on the brakes could cause an even greater imbalance of the vehicle’s stabililty, which could lead to loss of control of the vehicle.

b.    When the accelerator is released, the law of physics dictates that the weight of vehicle will be transferred from the rear tires to the front tires. This shift in weight while running at highway speeds with a flat tire can lead to loss of control of the vehicle.

5. What you should do:

  • When the blowout occurs, maintain a steady pressure on the accelerator.
  • Next, counteract the pull of the vehicle caused by the blowout by gently steering in the opposite direction of the pull, so that your vehicle maintains its current lane.
  • Once you have regained control of the vehicle, gradually release the pressure on the accelerator.
  • As your vehicle is slowing down, guide it to a safe place out of the flow of traffic. Change lanes, as needed, by following standard lane changing rules of using your blinker, and maintaining proper distance between your vehicle and those around you.
  • Once your vehicle is safely out of the flow of traffic, pop the hood and put on your emergency blinkers to signal to other motorists that your vehicle is disabled.

Remember that the steps to handling a blowout are the same no matter if the blowout occurs in a front or back tire.

As always, please stay safe out there! You are important to us.