One sure fire way of upping your blood pressure is to experience a legit tire blowout traveling full speed on the highway. Your car shakes, it pulls hard, and unless you know what to do you may panic and slam on the brakes, creating a bad situation much, much worse.
Experiencing a tire blow out can occur at unexpected times, and it can get scary if you were in highway speeds. Today we’ll cover the basics of handling a sudden flat tire situation so you can stay calm and collected while safely guiding your vehicle to a stop by the side of the road.
What Do Tire Blowouts Sound like?
You can expect to hear 3 main sounds, which will vary depending on the situation. A loud bang or boom of the popping tire should be the first sound that reverberates throughput the car. A whooshing sound may be heard, which is simply the sound of air escaping the tire. Finally, a repeated flopping or flapping sound of the flat tire hitting the road is heard.
If you’re tires have completely shredded, you may experience violent rattling in the car as the last vestiges of the tire are ripped away from the rim by the pavement.
How Can You Notice a Flat Tire While Driving?
When you have a flat tire at high speeds, you may first feel the car slowing down as you try to maintain the speed. The car will then pull strongly to the right or left depending on the side where the tire burst occurred. When the flat tire is on the front tires, you will feel this force especially with the steering of the car. For rear tires, the force is more on the body or the seat of the car. Regardless of where the flat tire occurred, the response should be the same.
How Safely Handle a Flat tire
Maintaining control of the car and balancing it is vital when you want to get it off the road safely. In this case, you should remain calm, even while your instincts tell you to hit the brakes hard, take your foot off the accelerator, and swerve off the road. Never slam on the brakes, as you will diminish the stability of the vehicle and end up losing its control. Instead, lift off your foot from the gas pedal, and gently slow down the car.
Holding the steering wheel correctly with your two hands is essential, and it makes it easy to stabilize the vehicle. Gently steer to the shoulder only when it’s safe, while softly applying the brakes to stop your vehicle completely. If necessary, you can then push your hazards lights to notify other drivers that you are facing some problems, and keep them out of your way.
What You Should Do After Stopping the Car Safely
Only exit your car when you are sure that you are at a safe distance off the main road; off the harm’s way. Remember to turn on the hazard lights, and put the reflective cones or lifesaver triangles on the road if you have them, to alert other drivers at a safe distance. When it’s not safe to change the tire from where you stopped, or if your are not sure how, it’s better to call for road assistance.
Don’t forget that the spare tires are only recommended for emergencies, (especially the smaller ones) and you should not drive on them at high speeds or for long distances. If you not aware of its location, referring to the user’s manual can give you instructions on where all the necessary tools and spare tire are located. It can also guide you on how to change a flat tire. However, be sure to familiarize yourself with these before you actually need them.
Preventing a Flat Tire
Since tires will naturally lose air pressure over time, it is recommended that you check each of your tire’s pressure at least once a month to avoid a blowout or a flat tire. A simple, regular inspection routine for wear and tear, slow leaks, and pressure is very important. Keeping your load limits within the manufacturer’s recommendations helps too.