Know How to Handle Tire-Related Driving Emergencies? reports tire blowouts or flats cause nearly 11,000 crashes and 200 deaths every year.[1] Blowouts can be caused by a variety of reasons including under-inflation of the tires, overloading your car with too much weight, or even hitting a pothole. That’s why blowouts most often occur during the summer and early fall months when the roads are the hottest and motorists are driving faster with more loaded down vehicles. If you’ve ever experienced a tire blowout, you know how unsettling and potentially dangerous they are. Fortunately, you can greatly increase your chance of safely handling these difficult driving situations with a few simple tips.

In all cases, no matter what driving emergency may occur, the best thing you can do as a driver is try to remain calm. As for what to do next? Read on for some useful tips on how to handle different tire-related mishaps.

For a tire blow out:

It probably won’t be your natural inclination, but the best thing to do with a tire blowout is to push gently on the accelerator and drive straight ahead. The startling noise of a tire blowout makes most drivers instinctively want to brake quickly and get off the road, but this could result in loss of control.

If you remain calm, push on the accelerator, and hold your steering wheel to stay straight in your lane, the drag force of the flat tire will allow your car to coast down to a slower speed so you can pull onto the shoulder of the road.

For a panic stop:

If the freeway suddenly becomes completely blocked (for example, a herd of deer runs across the highway), you’ll need to stop immediately. If your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS), all you need to do is step on the brake pedal as hard and quickly as you can, continue to press hard on the pedal until you come to a complete stop, and steer only if you need to. Be aware you may hear loud noises or have a pulsating brake pedal. That’s just ABS doing its job.

For sliding tires:

If your front tires start sliding, the steps to manage it feel natural: remove your foot from the gas, stay off the brakes, hold the steering wheel steady, and wait for traction to return.

Rear tire slide has been almost eliminated by electronic stability control (ESC), which has been a requirement for all new cars built since 2012. If you own an older vehicle, help ensure tire slides don’t happen by making certain your tires have adequate tread depth and are properly inflated. Slipping and sliding happens most often during winter, when you switch to winter tires you are gaining extra tread which is designed to grip snow and ice to prevent slipping and sliding on the roads.

For over-reactive steering:

In an urgent situation, always move your steering wheel rapidly, but smoothly. Jerking the steering wheel can cause you to lose control of your car. Turning the same amount, but smoothly, will prevent this.

Unfortunately, even the most cautious drivers will face some sort of driving emergency in their lifetimes. Knowing what to do to correctly handle these emergencies can mean the difference between a close call or a serious crash.

AARP offers a good summary for handling a tire accident: “Brake gently. Maintain steering control and calm. Pull completely off the roadway as soon as you can.” That’s sound advice to remember – it can often be just that simple to maintain your safety in a driving emergency.

For more information on tire maintenance, services, and brands, please visit us online. We want to do everything we can to keep you safely on the road!


Categories: Bauer Built Blog, Tire Care Tips