Did Your Tire Blow Out? What to Do When the Tire Blows out on Your Car
That “BOOM” you hear while driving down the road could indicate that your car has just blown a tire. This is a terrifying occurrence for any driver, and it happens more often we realize. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that tire blowouts are responsible for more than 75,000 accidents each year, leading to the deaths of over 400 drivers.
Tire blowouts are serious business, but you can get through one of these safely, even if you don’t have training as a professional stunt car driver. You can also take a few measures to help avoid having a tire blowout in your future.
Why Do Tire Blowouts Happen?
The term “blowout” refers to a tire that bursts while the vehicle is in operation, followed by a loss of air pressure. Most flat tires in the U.S. occur between May and September when there is more travel and hotter conditions.
Most blowouts happen because there isn’t enough air pressure in the tire, allowing it to flex beyond its limits where the tire’s rubber loses its bond with the steel cord reinforcement and internal fabric. Tire blowouts can often be traced back to a lack of maintenance, but this isn’t always the case. The main causes of tire blowouts include:
- Under inflation
- Slow leaks
- Worn treads
How to Prevent a Tire Blowout
Having a tire blowout can not only be frightening, but it is also dangerous. The best way to handle a blowout is to prevent one from occurring in the first place. The ways that you can increase your odds of avoiding these incidents include:
- Visually inspect your tires. Every couple of weeks, take a walk around your vehicle and inspect your tires for potential blowout warnings signals. These include worn treads, dry rot, and damaged tires.
- Check your tire pressure. Check your tire pressure often. Do this with each visual inspection, if necessary. All vehicles made after 2007 have integrated electronic tire pressure monitoring systems. Don’t ignore these dashboard warnings.
- Get regular maintenance. Regular tire rotation is a must to extend the life of your tires and reduce the chance of a blowout.
- Replace tires when necessary. When tires are worn or damaged, it’s time to invest in a new set.
What to do When a Tire Blowout Occurs
What you should do and what you think you should do when your vehicle’s tire blows out are often polar opposites. First, you should NOT slam on the brakes and head directly towards the shoulder. Depending on your speed, this action could cause your vehicle to enter a dangerous spin and even roll over. Instead, take these steps to safely survive a tire blowout like a pro:
- Remain calm. The best thing you can do in the moments after a tire blowout is nothing. Avoid touching the breaks or turning the steering wheel. Don’t even take your foot off of the gas pedal if you can avoid it. These inactions can help you avoid losing control of the vehicle.
- Steer straight. The blow out will cause the vehicle to pull to one side. Keep steering straight for the moment and avoid overcorrecting and fishtails.
- Gently accelerate. This sounds strange and counterintuitive, but this action can help you regain control of your vehicle after the blowout.
- Wait for deceleration. The blown tire will slow down your vehicle naturally. Turn on your hazard lights as you slow below the speed of traffic, while still driving straight.
- Get to safety. Once you’ve slowed to 30 mph, you can gently tap on the breaks. When you have slowed to 20 mph, it’s time to begin heading to the road’s shoulder, where you can stop the vehicle and get some help.
Who Can You Call for Help with a Tire Blowout?
Contacting a reputable towing service in your local area can be the safest and most effective way to handle both a tire blowout and a flat tire. Changing a tire on the side of the road can be dangerous, especially if there traffic present.
Rather than risking an injury to yourself or a loved one, call a reliable and affordable towing service that offers roadside assistance.