The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that tire blowouts are responsible for 75,000 traffic accidents every year. When your tire blows out, you’ll know it. You hear a loud boom from outside your vehicle, and the car starts to slow down and jerk to one side.
When this happens, do not panic. You shouldn’t steer, accelerate or pump the brakes for a few seconds, but let the car move and slow down on its own. Whatever you do, don’t hit your brakes. Pumping the brakes will cause the wheels to lock up, and you can lose control of the car. Gently steer the vehicle as straight as you can and slowly accelerate until you can pull over and push the hazard button to turn on your emergency lights, so other drivers know something is wrong with your vehicle. Accelerating will help the car move more naturally and allow you to keep it under control a little bit longer.
How to prevent a tire blowout
Most tire blowouts happen due to low tire pressure, so checking your tire pressure regularly and rotating your tires are preventative measures you can take from ever happening. Most cars on the road today have an electronic tire pressure monitoring system to alert you when a tire is low on pressure, and many new cars can tell you the exact pressure of each tire.
The weather may also play a factor. Summer can heat pavement to high temperatures, which causes your tires to expand and rise to dangerous levels. Cold winter temperatures will cause the pressure in your tires to drop. In the morning, when it’s coldest, the pressure in your tires may be three or four psi less than what it is during the middle of the day.
Also, be sure your tires have enough tread on them. Worn tires and tire pressure are a recipe for a blowout.
If you drive on the interstate often, you may frequently notice the remains of a blown tire either obstructing one of the lanes or resting on the shoulder. Though much of that tire debris comes from semi-trailers, tire blowouts are most likely to happen when your tire pressure is low and you’re on a freeway traveling at a high rate of speed.
What to do after your tire blows out?
Once you’re safely off the road, examine the blown tire and look for debris. Try to remove any debris from the road if you can, but be extremely careful of oncoming traffic, especially if you’re on a highway. If you’re comfortable changing the tire, use the spare tire and jack to remove the blown tire and replace it with the spare. If you have a full spare tire, you’re good to go once it’s on. If your spare is a small tire, known as a donut, head immediately to a tire shop where you can get a full-sized tire installed. Do not drive more than 50 miles or exceed a speed of 50 miles per hour if you are using a donut. A donut is meant to get you from the side of the road to a tire shop, nothing more.
If you don’t know how or want to change the tire, you can use roadside assistance, which is often provided by your insurer and the dealer you bought the car from. Your insurance or dealer will inform a towing company like Tim’s Towing, a towing company in Savannah, GA, of the location of your vehicle, and the tow truck will take your car to a nearby tire store.
Tim’s Towing provides towing services in Savannah, GA, and is ready to dispatch when your tire blows out at a moment’s notice. We’ve been serving in Savannah for almost 45 years, working tirelessly to get you back on the road as soon as possible.