How to Drive Through a Tire Blowout


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

''It all happened so fast... I panicked... I didn't know what to do...'' These are the words we often hear from drivers who experienced what all drivers eventually might - a tire blowout.


A tire blowout can be a frightening experience for any driver, especially when traveling at high speed. It can also be dangerous for the person driving the vehicle and its passengers, as well for other car drivers who happen to find themselves near the mentioned vehicle at that moment.


Every year, thousands of collisions are caused not only by tire blowouts, but also by driver's instinctive response to do exactly what he/she should not do. Knowing the proper response can make a difference, and in fact, help save lives and minimize the damage.


Here are steps to help you prepare and deal with this impending emergency.


1. Try to Prevent


2007 RDX tire pressure monitor. Image courtesy of http://www.caranddriver.com

As a driver, you want to do what you can to prevent tire blowout from ever happening to you. The most common cause of tire blowouts is underinflation, so you definitely want to keep an eye out on your tire pressure. If the low pressure symbol eventually does appear on your dashboard, signaling that one or more of your tires has lost 25% of its rated pressure, you should pull over immediately to avoid tire blowout.


Also, make sure to avoid bumping curbs and other large objects on the road that could cause internal damage to your tires, and lead to tire puncture and blowout.


2. Remember to Stay Calm


When the inevitable does happen, even the experienced drivers might end up panicking. Hearing the shotgun-blast noise of the tire blowout is not an enjoyable experience, and can make any driver react instinctively and thus, cause even more damage.


The main thing to do is control your panic reaction. The important thing for you to remember is that you are still in control of the vehicle, as the inflated tire on the opposite side of the vehicle will overpower the deflated tire that is causing trouble. So, keeping yourself in check is the key to regaining control of your vehicle.


3. Avoid These Mistakes

How you react in the first few seconds after the tire blowout is crucial. Slamming on the brakes will be your first thought or even an involuntary movement. However, this could result in a crash. As much as you would want to slow down and come to a full stop, and get off the road as soon as possible, these actions will only lead to greater imbalance of your vehicle.


Also, don't abruptly remove your foot from the accelerator, as this will cause uneven weight distribution between the rear and front tires, further upsetting car balance and making you lose control of the vehicle.


For the same reason, be sure not to make any sudden steering changes. You want to regain the control of your car, and that will only make things worse.


4. Drive Through


Keeping your foot on the gas and proper steering are key components of ''driving through'' the blowout. Your aim is to regain the control of your car, and eventually bring it to a full stop in a safe area where you can address the car's damage.


First, you need to keep your foot on the gas, as much as your instinct will point you to the brakes. You can even squeeze the gas pedal for a couple of seconds to overcome the initial drag that is pulling your vehicle to one side. This will help you direct the car straight down your lane.


Next, grip the steering wheel with both hands and concentrate on the road. As blowout leads to the loss of car's stability, you don't want to force your car to make any sudden turns and head in any new directions. The aim is to keep your vehicle on the road and avoid straying into other lanes and vehicles, or even worse, completely off the road.


When you assess that your vehicle is stabilized, start easing your foot off the gas pedal to slow down, and brake gently with a steady pressure to reduce the vehicle speed, while looking for a safe place to pull off the road. Then, engage your turn signal and gently steer the vehicle off the road, preferably to a parking lot or another traffic-free area.


5. Make a Safe Stop

Finally, once your car has come to a full stop, use the handbrake and switch on your hazard lights. You can turn those lights on even earlier, indicating to other drivers that you are experiencing some problems and need extra space, but you should opt for that only if you are sure you can hit the button without taking your eyes and focus away from the road.


This is the time to be proud of handling the situation and letting someone take it from there, like a roadside assistance if you have it. If you know how to change a tire and have all the necessary equipment, you can do it yourself, as long as you do it safely, away from the oncoming traffic.


Also, you should have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic after experiencing a flat tire, to make sure there is no residual damage from the flat tire.


One Final Note

Remember that no matter which tire blows out, front or back, rules for handling your vehicle are always the same. Sometimes knowing these steps means a difference between life and death. You want your tire blowout experience to go as smoothly as possible, and for it to be just another exciting story to tell, and nothing more than that.


How did you handle your tire blowout? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page!



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