A tyre blowout can be anything from frightening to potentially dangerous at almost any speed. We have put together a few simple guidelines and tips to follow when a tyre lets go.
With all the advances in car safety standards and technology these days blowouts are now a rarer occurrence, but this also means drivers are less prepared to handle them and react appropriately.
What is a tyre blowout and what does it sound like?
A tyre blowout is a sudden failure in a tyre’s structure, which normally occurs without warning. Expect to hear a loud boom or bang of the tyre popping reverberating through the car. Then you would hear a whooshing sound or the sound of air quickly escaping from the tyre, and finally the sound of a deflated tyre hitting the road (like a flapping or flopping as it hits).
- How to drive through a tyre blowout
- Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel
- Let your car slow down gradually
- DO NOT slam on your brakes
- Pull to the side of the road once you have slowed to a safe speed and activate your hazards
What you shouldn’t do during a blowout
One of the main problems with blowouts is us! Our natural driving instincts may make the situation worse; if the car suddenly starts swerving — perhaps accompanied by a loud bang — most people’s instinctive response is to take their foot off the accelerator, slam on the brakes and possibly turn the steering wheel forcefully. Unfortunately, all three are likely to increase the risk of an accident.
If the front tyre has blown out, violent braking will only result in throwing more weight onto the damaged tyre, therefore increasing the possibility of swerving
If the back tyre has blown out, forceful braking throws the vehicle out of balance, possibly resulting in fishtailing, swerving or even spinning right round.
If the vehicle is traveling at speed, forcefully turning the steering wheel can be disastrous. With greatly increased drag from the damaged tyre, this may result in the vehicle flipping over.
How to Prevent a Tyre Blowout
Good news is that many tyre blowouts are preventable with the proper effort and attention. Most occur from May through October when the road surface is the hottest, resulting from an underinflated tyre, excessively worn treads, or an overloaded vehicle.
A simple, routine inspection of your tyres to check for slow leaks, wear and tear, and proper pressure is important. Keeping your load light, within your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations can help too.