It is very important to stay calm and not panic during tyre blowouts. If you act carefully, you can save yourself from any serious damage.
During any highway trip, tyre blowouts are one of the biggest fears of a driver. A blowout is always dangerous, no matter how good a driver you are or how safe your car is. It does not only make the car unstable but could also lead to a complete loss of car control.
However, with tyre technology improving day by day, blowouts are becoming are an infrequent occurrence. Still, they do happen and AutoHunters bring you a quick guide on how to handle and prevent a tyre burst.
Handling a Tyre Burst:
-> Always maintain lower speeds on the highway. A tyre blowout at 90 Km/Hr will be much less dramatic than the one at 140-150 Km/Hr. Handling a tyre burst will be much easier if the speeds are lower.
-> Do Not Slam Brakes during tyre blowouts. Braking hard during a tyre burst will make the already imbalanced car more unstable. Although our brains are hardwired to instinctively jam the brake pedals, always try not to disturb the momentum of the car.
->Don’t abruptly take your foot off the accelerator. Instead, release the accelerator slowly and gradually. Leading tyre manufacturer Michelin recommends that you maintain accelerator input momentarily, before releasing it slowly. The de-accelerating force from the blown-up tyre will anyways slow down your car.
-> Try and keep your car travel in a straight line. Avoid steep curves or sharp steering inputs as it will upset your car’s composure.
-> If your car is pulling towards one side, turn the steering in the opposite direction. This is critical, else you risk drifting into the road divider or worse still, the opposite lane.
-> Do not OVER correct the steering. Even the slightest of the mistakes can result in a loss of stability and this could result in a roll-over. Even when the speeds get low, don’t be negligent and carefully bring the car to a complete stop.
-> Once the situation is under control, gradually bring the car to a complete halt and park the car at a safe spot. Turn on the hazard lights so as to make other drivers aware.
-> Avoid parking the car on the road as this increases the chances of some speeding car rear-ending into your car.
Other Important Points:
-> If the car pulls towards left or right, either of the front tyres has burst. If the rear of the car weaves, a rear tyre has burst. In any case, do not brake hard and be gentle with any kind of inputs.
-> Always keep both hands on the steering wheel while driving at higher speeds. Controlling a car with both hands during an emergency is always easier.
-> It is important for you to understand that your car behaves differently after a tyre burst as it now only has 3 proper contact points on the road. Thus it is important for you to be cautious and avoid any kind of sharp inputs, be it an accelerator, steering or brakes.
-> Bigger and taller vehicles such as most of the SUVs and MUVs have a higher centre of mass, making them prone to rollovers during such instances. If you drive an SUV or any similar vehicle, drive at conservative speeds so as to reduce the chances of the car going out of control if something happens to either of the 4 tyres.
-> Before hitting the highways, always inspect your tyres properly and fill manufacturer recommended tyre pressure in all the tyre. Over/under-inflated tyres increase the probability of a tyre burst by many folds. Also check for any kind of sidewall damage, cuts, bulges or any other problem in the tyres before cranking the engine.
-> While driving during the monsoons, make sure that your maintain lower speeds as the situation will be worse if something like this happens on wet roads.
-> Last but not least, STAY CALM and DON’T PANIC. You will be able to handle much better if you are calm and composed.
How To Reduce The Chances Of A Tyre Blowouts?
-> Check the air pressure every week or fortnight. This way, a small puncture (also known to cause blowouts) will catch your attention.
-> Under Inflated tyres are no. 1 cause of tyre blowouts. Do not ever under inflate the tyres as it is a myth that higher tyre pressure results into tyre bursts.
-> There is nothing more critical to safe driving than healthy tyres. Visually inspect all tyres (including the spare). If you spot any bulges or cuts, that is bad news. Tyres can also get damaged by impact against kerbs, dividers and large potholes.
-> Use tubeless tyres. The old tube-type tyres have a higher chance of a dangerous blowout.
-> Always buy and use tyres from a reputable brand and avoid using cheap tyres from unknown brands.
-> Never overload the vehicle in any circumstance.
-> If the tyre suffers a sidewall cut, get rid of it. Do not get the tyre repaired as it can never be like the new/undamaged tyre
-> Stability Control Programs (e.g. ESP) are lifesavers in a tyre burst situation. Consider this when shopping for your next car.
-> Always take a break every 1.5-2 hours. This will not only keep you stress-free but will also let the tyres and other components of the car cool down.