Handling The Pressure Of A Tire Blowout
Signs of tire blowouts litter the sides of highways and roads, igniting dread in most people. The idea of suddenly losing control of a vehicle at high speeds (or any speed) is unsettling, and rightfully so. Blowouts cause 11,000 accidents and 200 fatalities each year. Knowing how to prevent one and what to do if it happens can mean the difference between a controlled situation and a dangerous one.
It's obvious when a tire blows. A loud bang is followed by the vehicle pulling strongly to the left or right, depending on which tire blew. Unfortunately, the instinct to slam on the brakes and pull over is the opposite of what should be done. Instead, keep the vehicle moving in order to maintain control. Continue in the same direction instead of swerving off the road. The National Safety Council says to follow these steps:
- Firmly grip the steering wheel
- Do NOT slam on the brakes, but let the car come to a gradual stop
- Put hazard lights on and carefully get the car to the side of the road or exit
- Pull over only in a safe area, and make sure the vehicle is completely off the road
Avoiding A Blowout
Knowing how to handle a blowout is important, but taking a few precautions can help avoid the situation altogether.
An under-inflated tire will shorten the life quicker than anything else. Without enough air, the tire's components flex too much and quickly break down. An overinflated tire can quickly overheat, weakening the structure.
A car or truck's maximum carrying capacity is different than a tire's maximum. Check the tire for weight limits and increase the air pressure to the highest allowed when needed.
Avoid potholes and curbs
Sometimes damage doesn't show up right away, but hitting curbs, potholes, or other obstacles and debris can cause internal damage on the tire.
Routinely checking tires for signs of damage or normal wear-and-tear can minimize the risks of being in a dangerous situation. If you have questions about tire safety or the quality of your tires, contact us.