How to Handle a Tire Blowout
How you react could save lives.
May through October is prime season for tire blowouts, thanks to warmer temperatures and an uptick in travel. Letting a blowout catch you off guard could put you, your passengers and other motorists in danger. Be ready by knowing how to handle a tire blowout.
Handling a Tire Blowout
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, there is an average of 11,000 tire-related accidents each year. The moments right after a tire pops are crucial, and your reaction can help lower the risk of accidents and injury. Here’s what to do:
- Stay calm. The loud noise that accompanies a blowout can be startling, but try not to panic.
- Keep your foot on the gas. It’s natural to want to slam on the brakes, but braking suddenly can make you lose control. Press on the accelerator to maintain speed and stabilize the vehicle, then slowly ease off the pedal.
- Control the vehicle. Your car pulls in the direction of the blown tire. Grip the wheel tightly, making slight corrections to continue traveling in your lane.
- Find a safe place to pull over. As your car slows, guide it to a safe location on the side of the road. Avoid making quick turns and maneuvers, which could cause your vehicle to spin out or roll.
Fixing a Tire Blowout
Being hit by another driver is one of the biggest risks associated with roadside tire changes. When replacing the tire:
- Make sure your car is off the road.
- Turn on your emergency flashers.
- Raise the car hood and trunk, or tie a bright cloth around the antenna to improve your visibility.
- Ask all passengers to exit the vehicle from the side away from the road and stand away from it.
- Never change a tire when you’re alone — another individual should be around to watch traffic for you.
- Consider switching to run-flat tires. These allow you to travel at least 50 miles on a flat, giving you extra time to find a service station or a safer place to change the tire.
Preventing Tire Blowouts
You can reduce the risk of a flat by inspecting your tires regularly. Look for signs of wear and tear, and replace tires that look questionable. Performing regular tire maintenance also can help extend their lifespan. Give your tires a checkup by following this printable tire maintenance checklist from MetLife.