A tire blowout is something that a lot of people dread, especially if you’ve never experienced one before or you have just got your license.
Although a blowout can be a little scary, there are some steps that you should follow to ensure that you keep yourself and others safe on the road.
How do I know that I have a tire blowout?
You may be thinking, how do you know if you’ve had a tire blowout?
Now, not all cars will warn you if you have low air in your tire or if you have a blowout so there are some key things to remember.
You will most likely hear a bang or popping noise. This is usually the first indication that you have had a tire blowout.
If you’re still unsure, you may hear air escaping from the tire followed by a flapping sound when you’re driving. This would be the air inflating from your tire and then the rubber hitting the road as you drive on.
As well as these startling noises, you may also feel your car pulling you in a certain direction. The direction that your car pulls you solely depends on which tire has blown out.
You can get a good idea by feeling which side of the car is drifting. If it is a front tire, then you will feel the front of the car being dragged.
However, if it is a back tire, you will feel the back of the car being pulled.
What to do when you have a tire blowout?
It may feel slightly crazy to do this, but you actually want to steer your car in the direction that your car is pulling you. Do not press onto your brake. The idea behind this is that you need to keep your car moving to get you off of the road safely.
Try your best to not feel panicked, which we realize may be easier said than done. You’ve got to trust the process! Firmly grip your steering wheel to allow yourself to have full control of your vehicle. A firm grip will also help you feel more confident as you correct your car’s position too.
You will need to steer in the direction that your car is being pulled and then once you gain some control, begin to slow down your vehicle. Once you are at a slow speed, begin to indicate to let other drivers know that you are going to pull off to the side of the road.
Now that you are safely out of the way of other drivers, stop your car and turn on your four-way flashers. Some people may recommend that you place your flashers on as soon as you identify that you’re having a tire blowout, which is fine.
However, we believe that it is more important to bring your car safely to a halt before even thinking about another step you need to take during this sometimes nerve-racking experience.
The way you react to a tire blowout will vary depending on which kind of road you are on. If you are just driving down your street, then you may be much more calmer.
However, having a tire blowout on the freeway is a different story altogether. So just remember our above tips which will help guide you through the whole process and stay as calm as you possibly can.
What to do after a tire blowout?
By this point, you have successfully pulled over to the side of the road and have your flashers on.
When exiting your vehicle, you want to be extremely careful so only open your door when you have the space to do so and then stand behind the barrier. For an extra precaution, if you have reflective cones stored inside, then place them around your vehicle to further warn other drivers.
Next, you will want to check if you have a spare tire. You may already know the answer to this but if you don’t, check your user manual which will also point out where it is located in your vehicle.
We only recommend changing a tire yourself if you are on a quiet road or if you have changed tires in the past and are confident doing so.
If you are on a busy freeway or if you are unsure of how to change a tire, then it is probably best to call roadside assistance or the AAA.
When you call them, ensure that you are standing behind a safety barrier or out of the way of traffic. They will then be able to reach you safely and help you get back on the road in no time!
How to prevent a tire blowout?
The good news is there are a few maintenance checks you can carry out to make sure your tire is good before taking off on a journey.
The AAA recommends two important checks; air pressure and tread depth. These two checks will help keep your tires in perfect condition so you won’t have to worry too much about getting a blowout!
To check your tread depth you want to take a good inspection of your tire’s outer surface. What’s important to note here is that your tire tread will need to be replaced when the wear bars reach 4/32.
An easy way to check this is by measuring the tread with a quarter. Place a quarter into the groove of your tire tread and if the top of George Washington’s head is exposed, then it’s time for some new tires!
The second way to check the health status of your tires is by measuring your air pressure. Different vehicles and tires need various air pressures. The best way to check what yours should be is in your vehicle manual.
Once you know what air pressure is needed for your tires, check what your tires are currently measuring with a quality gauge. You will be able to find one of these in your local gas station. You will also be able to top up your air pressure if needed.
It is important to keep on top of these two things if you own a vehicle. These checks will help prolong the life of your tires and also reduce the risk of you having to experience a tire blowout.
We recommend that you carry out regular maintenance to your tires after every 4,500km you drive or once a month to keep it simple and safe.
We hope this has helped you learn what a tire blowout is, how to safely get off the road, and prevent it in the future.