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BLOWOUT! How to React and Stay Safe

Not long ago, one of my friends had a rear tire blow out while she was driving at high speed on the Interstate.

Even worse, the tread separated from the tire and the steel belts in the tire literally made fringe of her rear bumper.

She was lucky: a blowout is loud, and the natural reaction is to slow down quickly and make a quick turn to the side of the road. The steel belts in the tire could have cut through the gas tank, fender well, and brake lines, and could even have shattered glass.

What to do if this happens to you:

  • Keep your cool. Do not make any sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • Stay in control of the car, and slowly decrease your speed by easing off the accelerator, not by tapping the brakes. Braking with a blown tire at high speed can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, and often results in an accident.
  • Use your turn signal to let other drivers know you’re heading for the side of the road.
  • As your speed reaches about 30 mph, you can move toward the side of the road, preferably the same side as the tire is on. This minimizes the chances of losing control, and also ensures you’ll be changing the tire away from fast-moving traffic.
  • Bring the car to a safe stop, as far out of the traffic lane as you can.

Put on your emergency flashers.

Now, if you’re able to change the tire yourself, you can do it safely.

If you need to call for help, you can do that without obstructing traffic.

TIPS:

Minimize the risk of a blowout by keeping your tires properly inflated.

Remember that cell phone service is sketchy in many places. Keep poster board, markers, and tape in your emergency kit so you can make a SEND HELP sign. Rig it so you can put your mile-marker location on it. Passing drivers will know exactly where to send help (Ex.: South I-75, Mile 268).