How to Handle a Tire Blowout: Changing a Tire VideoApril 18, 2011 | in Defensive Driving Online
One of the more dramatic emergencies that you may encounter as a driver is a tire blowout. Unlike a flat tire, which involves a slow loss of air pressure, during a tire blowout the tire loses pressure very rapidly. Fortunately, tire blowouts are fairly rare. The most common cause is under-inflation, which allows the tire walls to flex more than they should. This causes heat to build up in the rubber, especially on a hot day, which can result in a blowout. Over-inflation can also cause a blowout, as over-inflated tires are more easily slashed and punctured by objects on the road. Over-loading, large punctures, excess wear, and age can also cause blowouts.
To prevent a blowout, make sure your tires are inflated to within the recommended pressure range and rotate and replace your tires as necessary. If you are going to be carrying heavy loads in your vehicle, make sure that you know your vehicle’s load index rating and don’t exceed this weight.
A thumping sound in one of the wheels can be an indication that a tire blowout is about to occur. Should you notice such a sound, pull over and check your tires. If a tire blowout does occur, the first thing you’ll notice is that the car begins to vibrate and wants to swerve towards the blown-out tire, much like when a skid occurs. DON’T BRAKE! This will cause your wheels to lock-up, resulting in a total loss of control. Instead, accelerate slightly and try to keep steering the car as straight as possible; this slight acceleration will keep your car from “jumping” into the next lane.
Next, begin to slow down by slowly removing your foot from the accelerator. A sudden release of the accelerator will have the same effect as braking. Turn on your emergency indicators to alert other drivers to your predicament and make sure you are aware of the cars on the road around you.
Don’t jerk the steering wheel or make sudden movements to force the car into the direction you want to go; rather, steer gently and gradually. When you have control of the car, begin to maneuver towards the right hand lane and, when you have a safe space on which to pull over, do so.
Once you have come to a complete halt, wait to get out of the car until it is safe to do so. If you know how to change a tireand have room to do so safely, then proceed! However, if you have even the slightest doubt about the safety of the situation, don’t risk it. Call a towing company instead.
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