Handling Tire Blowouts Safely
If a blowout does happen while you’re on the road, you’ll know it. Two things will happen: your vehicle will begin to slow down and then it will start pulling to one side (the left or the right). Just seconds before you are struggling to keep control of the car, you might hear a startling noise. It is important to remain calm and avoid making dangerous driving decisions based on fear. This is extremely important since losing a tire means losing a fourth of the vehicle’s traction. Any sudden movements can cause a rollover or collision with another vehicle traveling nearby.
Avoid the gut-instinct to hit the brakes. It’s important to keep the same speed immediately after the blowout so that you remain in control. Sudden braking can actually increase the loss of control and cause your car to swerve. Instead, get a firm grip on the steering wheel and do not allow it to move. If necessary, offset the pulling by gently counter-steering in the opposite direction.
Once the car is stabilized, pull over safely and turn on your flashers. Never stop in the middle of the road or in any place that would put you in danger of being struck from behind. This is especially important to remember if the accident occurs at night or in a place where another driver’s view of your vehicle would be impaired. Remembering not to follow to closely or alongside other cars can also help you avoid a collision in the case of a blowout.