April 2017 – How to Survive A Tire Blowout

tire blowout

*Due to certain language that we cannot repeat for our audience, the following article is paraphrased from an article on the website Thrillist.com.  The author is Aaron Miller, the Rides Editor for Supercompressor.  At the bottom is posted the link to the original article.

You’re cruising at 70 mph on the interstate on a beautiful day.  You have plenty of fuel in the tank.  So far, the road trip has been perfect and then *BAM*  thudthudthudthudthudthud.  You’ve just had a tire blowout on the highway.  What do you do? 

  1. Stay calm and don’t turn the wheel. Look straight ahead and keep the steering wheel pointed in the same direction, no matter how hard it tries to pull towards one side.  If you’ve had a blowout, one of the corners of your vehicle is now a couple of inches lower and everything is highly unstable as a result.  What’s worse is that you could’ve had a tread separation, where the tread literally pulls away from the rest of the tire’s carcass.  It might feel safer at first, but ultimately, it’s just as dangerous.  The single worst thing you could possibly do is pull on the steering wheel and make the car turn.
  2. Do Not Touch The Brake Pedal. Hit the Gas. This is harder than you think because hitting the brake pedal seems the logical thing to do.  Instead, you want to increase the pressure on the gas pedal to keep your vehicle stabilized.  Here’s why:  A blown tire adds a ton of resistance, and your vehicle tries to decelerate so rapidly that it can feel like you’ve already slammed on the brakes.  That resistance is concentrated in one corner, so your car will want to rotate around that corner.  You need to stabilize the car first and foremost.  You don’t want to “floor it,” but definitely hit the gas hard enough to counter the deceleration caused by the blown tire.
  3. Assess your situation. Is one corner of the car lower?  If so, which one?  This won’t be something you have to guess; you’ll know when it happens.  The big takeaway here is that you need to know first and foremost if it’s a front or rear tire, and then which side it’s on.
  4. Ease up and gradually slow down. You’re going in a straight line, and you know which tire is the problem.  Now ease off the accelerator in a smooth motion and continue driving straight.  If the vehicle isn’t slowing down much at all, lightly apply just enough brake pressure to get the speed under control.  Too much and you might upset the car’s balance, resulting in a spin.  And you don’t want to spin, especially at highway speeds.  Ideally you want to get down to neighborhood speeds before you do anything else.  If it’s a rear tire, slow down even further before doing anything, because even the slightest movement of your steering wheel can cause a loss of control.
  5. Pull over toward the side with the flat. Once you’re down to an appropriate speed, carefully work your way over to the shoulder.  Do not sharply turn the steering wheel.  You’re going to have to change the tire now, and you do not want your wheel right by the nearest lane of traffic while you’re loosening lug nuts and using the vehicle’s jack.

 BONUS SECTION

Don’t let any of this happen in the first place.  All that stuff you’ve been taught about checking for proper inflation and looking for damage is true.  Think of your tire like a rubber band that you’ve found sitting on the sidewalk.  If it’s been out there for a couple of years, like your tires, it will start to crack and lose its elasticity.  Tires are not quite as dramatic, but they do behave similarly.  An underinflated tire will cause the rubber to flex excessively.  Combine that with reduced elasticity and you’ve got a blowout waiting to happen.

To see the original unedited article, click on this link, How to Survive A Tire Blowout.

 

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