A sudden tire blowout can happen anywhere, anytime. It can be a frustrating situation for a busy commercial driver on a schedule. More importantly, a tire blowout can pose a serious safety hazard.
In fact, tire blowouts are estimated to cause more than 400 fatalities, over 10,000 injuries, and some 78,000 crashes every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Keeping calm and maintaining control of the vehicle are the two key steps to recovering safely from a tire blowout. Here is what experts say drivers should do if they suddenly experience a flat tire:
Don't Hit the Brakes
Slamming on the brakes will only make matters worse.
It may sound counterintuitive, but slight acceleration will help you maintain control. Also, when you first realize you have a blowout, keep driving straight ahead.
Grip the Steering Wheel
To avoid losing control, make sure your hands are in the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position and maintain a firm grasp on the steering wheel.
Ease off the Accelerator
The goal is to gradually slow down as opposed to suddenly.
Maintain Your Course
As the vehicle slows down, maintain your direction and stay in your lane.
Apply the Brakes
When the vehicle slows to 30 mph, gently apply the brakes.
Activate Your Right Turn Signal
Prepare to pull over to the right by turning on your signal. Never stop on the left side of the road, as it is the most dangerous place to be.
Pull Over to the Right Side of Road
Once safely out of the way of other vehicles, bring your vehicle to a stop.
Use Your Emergency Flashers
Let other motorists know your vehicle is out of commission by using emergency flashers and/or reflective cones placed around your vehicle.