UNITED STATES—Good tire maintenance is essential for keeping yourself and your passenger’s safe while on the road. Tires should be regularly inspected and properly inflated, balanced, and rotated according to the recommended maintenance for your tire type and vehicle.
Sadly, however, even diligence in each of these areas cannot prevent the unexpected from occurring. Impact damage, excessive heat, slow and undetectable leaks, sudden punctures, overloading, and many other factors can contribute to tire blowouts. The good news is that when blowouts do happen, there are several things you can do to significantly increase your chances of survival.
1. Don’t Let Go of the Steering Wheel
Try not to panic. Tire blowouts happen so suddenly that you may not realize you’ve had one for several seconds. There are three distinct sounds that a blowout always causes:
- A loud banging or booming sound as the tire actually ruptures or pops
- Whooshing or hissing noises as all remaining air rush out
- Flapping sounds as the deflated tire continues to make contact with the asphalt.
The sooner you recognize what’s happening and start taking action to mitigate damages, the less harmful a blowout is likely to be.
The first and most important thing to remember is to keep your hands on the heel. You’ll maintain your forward momentum for quite some time, especially if you were already traveling at a relatively high speed. Steering and controlling the vehicle will take more effort, but try to avoid making sharp, dramatic steering moves unless absolutely needed.
2. Don’t Slam the Brakes
Whenever the control of a vehicle is lost, the first instinct is to jam the brakes. This is the worst thing that you could do during a blowout. It’s far better to simply ease off the accelerator and let the vehicle naturally slow.
Use the turn signal to let other drivers know that you need to get over. The one good thing about tire blowouts is that the loud noises they cause often alert nearby motorists of the problem.
3. Make Your Way to the Side of the Road
Turn your car’s hazard lights on and slowly make your way to the side of the road. Make sure that you’re as far away from moving traffic as you can possibly be before turning the engine off. Do not try to get out of the car and inspect the damage or take any other actions until it is absolutely safe to do so
4. Activate Emergency Flashers and Take Other Safety Precautions
Activate emergency flashers. If you have them handy, set up road flares or reflective triangles. Even when you are pulled off the road, you want other motorists to clearly see you and to have ample time to swerve or stop.
5. Treat Blow-Out Events Like Any Other Accidents
If a blowout gets you into a car accident, even when you are at fault, there are always steps that you should take to protect your legal, personal, and financial interests. Mechanical failures and blow-outs can make fault seem obvious. Notwithstanding, you still want to avoid making verbal admissions of guilt.
Keep in mind that defective tires, road obstructions, and other outside factors may have played a role in causing the accident. For instance, if debris from the pickup truck in front of you caused your tire to blow out, you aren’t necessarily at fault for crashing into the back of it.
Be sure to exchange insurance and contact information with everyone involved. Get in touch with the police to get a copy of the official report and make your way to the hospital to have your injuries assessed.
As soon as the dust has settled, connect with a seasoned lawyer like this New Orleans car accident attorney to get help with filing your claim. Even if a blowout only causes damages to your car, it may still be considered a covered event.
Tire blowouts are both dangerous and incredibly common. Staying calm and strategically maneuvering to the side of the road can prevent serious accidents from occurring. If a crash does occur, take all the precautions you would normally take in any other type of car accident to keep yourself and your interests protected.
About the Author
Michelle Eddy is a staunch consumer advocate, fresh libertarian convert, and proud mother of three. Besides her legal career, she enjoys blogging about topics related to her expertise and life experiences, like parenting, child development, education, and law. In her writings, Michelle places emphasis on helping people to fight for their rights. She also works as a collaborative editor for Laborde Earles Law Firm. Her favorite quote is: “Sir, we are outnumbered 10 to 1″. “Then, it is a fair fight”.