Having a tire blow out at freeway speeds can be a nerve-shattering and potentially dangerous experience. And, how you react can make a huge difference in the outcome.
With automatic Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) now installed on all newer vehicles, the amount of tire-related crashes has dropped in recent years, but the number still remains too high for safety advocacy groups.
11,000 collisions and 200 fatalities annually
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire blowouts result in approximately 11,000 collisions and 200 fatalities annually. Despite the TPMS technology, such an unexpected occurrence continues to be a significant safety issue.
Because tire blowouts are less prevalent than they used to be, when motorists are faced with a tire going flat, blowing out or shredding at high speed, they’re often less likely to be prepared to react in a safe manner. In a catastrophic tire failure, it can literally take about ¼ of a second for your vehicle to suddenly become extremely difficult to handle and for the situation to not turn into an accident.
If you’ve experienced a blow out before, you probably already have a pretty good idea of what to do to stay in control. But, if you’ve never had the shock of a tire blowing out at 70 mph, how you react can make the difference between a safe ride home and one to the hospital.
First, you have to understand that the proper reaction to a tire blowout is vital to reducing your chance of an accident, which will almost guarantee higher auto insurance rates. But, luck also plays a major role in getting through the experience safely and unscathed. That said, the National Safety Council and numerous other safety experts recommend the following tips in the event of a tire blowout.
- Stay calm and maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel.
- Don’t slam on the brakes. In fact, avoid braking completely, if possible, for now.
- Let your vehicle slow down gradually on its own.
- Pull over to the side of the road, when it is safe to do so.
- Activate your emergency flashers.
After you experience a blowout, there are just as many things you should or shouldn’t do to remain safe and out of harm’s way.
- Don’t exit your vehicle unless it is safe to do so and you are out of traffic.
- If the blowout is on the left front or left rear, stay in your vehicle and contact a roadside assistance service such as AAA.
- Keep your emergency flashers on during the time your vehicle is disabled.
- If you’re familiar with the tire changing process and the right front or right rear tire is affected, go ahead and change it yourself. Remember, you’re paying for roadside service for a reason. In most cases, it’s best to let them perform the tire change.
Of course, you can’t predict if or when a blowout will happen. But, if you consistently drive on worn or under-inflated tires, you are greatly increasing your odds of having a potentially dangerous tire failure at highway speeds.
By following these simple tips, you could reduce possible injury, damage to your vehicle, and a substantial increase in your car insurance rates.