Today, with better, quality tires, blowouts are less common. Unfortunately this means that many don’t know what to do in the event of a flat tire. Instinctively, people might try to brake or take action that could actually put them in more danger and lead to a collision.
If you’ve never had a flat before, here is how to handle a flat tire:
Do Not Brake
This is the most important thing to remember, and possibly the hardest thing to do. Your instincts and reflexes will want you to move your foot off the gas and slam on the brakes. However, braking suddenly will cause the car to be unbalanced, and you will lose control of your vehicle and possibly cause an accident.
Instead, keep your foot on the gas and adjust your steering to stabilize the car. Once you are driving straight, slowly ease off the gas and make your way to the shoulder of the road. Still avoid braking – your flat will help slow down the car. Definitely do not stop in traffic. Slow down slowly until you can stop safely on the side of the road.
Use your turn signal and change lanes carefully. If you can, aim towards the side of the road that is the same side that the flat tire is on. Move your car off of the roadway if possible to avoid rear-rend or side collisions. You don’t want to be close to fast moving traffic once you exit your vehicle.
Turn on your emergency flashers. If you are safely away from traffic and know how, change the tire. If not, call for roadside assistance. Stand away from your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
Later, after help has arrived and your car is safe at home, take it to a mechanic to check to make sure there’s no residual damage. Our service department at Penske Automotive would be happy to assist you and check to make sure your vehicle is in tiptop shape.
What causes tire blowouts?
Sometimes, the cause of a flat is obvious – a nail or something in the road causes a gash. In other cases, most people think that overinflated in tires cause them to blow out, but it’s actually the opposite. An under-inflated tire will cause the rubber to flex beyond its normal elasticity.
This is why it’s incredibly important to check your tire pressure monthly. Buy a pressure gauge and put it in your glove box. It will only take you a few minutes to do, and can prevent more serious trouble further down the line. You can usually find the recommended tire pressure inside the driver’s door.