We all know that scary, unexpected things can happen on the highway. It can become a place of disaster and tragedy in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, disaster can strike in the form of a failed tire. I came to the realization that I have never given much thought to tire blowouts. Sure, I’ve had a flat tire, but never the tire explosion that sends your car out of control while leaving a rubber trail. I see the leftover rubber just about every time I’m on the highway, but I’ve never actually seen a tire blowout, let alone been in the car when it happened. So, naturally, I went to YouTube in search of a video. I was shocked at how many cringe-worthy videos there are of this happening! Here are a couple:
His reaction is not what you would expect!
There are dozens more videos, many that result in more rolling, spinning and hitting other cars. I have to say, this freaked me out a bit. After all, it is a pretty common occurrence and one that typically comes without warning. After seeing the effects of drivers not responding in the best way, I decided that I needed to learn how to respond in case this ever happens to me!
If like me, you are just now realizing that you don’t know how to handle a tire blowout, please keep reading! This could be the very information that someday saves you from a terrible wreck. But first, let’s touch up on the risk factors that could lead to a blowout.
- Under Inflation- This is, without a doubt, the most common cause of tire failure. An under inflated tire creates friction between the rubber and pavement. In this case, it’s only a matter of time until you’re on the shoulder of the highway.
- Potholes- Hear, hear, o people of Michigan! This is bad news for us. Other than doing your best to avoid them, there is one thing you can do. If you’re in the Grand Rapids area, you can report them right here. Most cities have this option; it’s a great tool to remember!
- Worn Tread- Along with checking your tire pressure every month (when the tires are cold) be sure to check the actual treads. If they are 4/32″ or deeper, they are still good. But if the tread is 2/32″ or less, it’s time to replace your tires.
It’s also important to remember not to overload your vehicle or trailer. And while I’m on the subject of trailers, (imagine that) you can read 10 Tactical Tips For Trailer Tires In Grand Rapids to get some new ideas on caring for your tires.
Even if you remember to take perfect care of your tires, the truth is, they can still have a blowout. Especially in Michigan, the weather can change quickly and potholes can be big enough to home a family of raccoons. Some risk factors are out of our control, which is why it is necessary to be prepared for tire failure.
4 Steps To Overcome A Disastrous Tire Blowout
If you don’t know anything about recovering from a tire blowout, then this might have surprised you. After all, it goes against the natural urge to hit the brakes and get to the shoulder as soon as possible. When you have a blown out tire creating drag, stepping on the accelerator a little harder will not actually speed up your vehicle. But it will stabilize your vehicle in your lane and help you to regain control.
Do not: Step on the brake.
2. Counter Steer
This is easy enough. The important thing to remember is not to over react. When you try steering a vehicle with a failed tire at high speeds, you’ll end up like the guys in the videos above. What I mean by counter steering is to gently guide the vehicle straight down your lane. If your vehicle is pulling to the left, carefully push towards the right just enough to keep it from veering.
Do not: Jerk the steering wheel.
3. Slow Down
At this point you should have decent control of your vehicle. Without stepping on the brake, slowly pull your foot off the gas to let your vehicle slow down on it’s own. With the dragging tire, slowing down won’t take long at all.
Do not: Abruptly take your foot off the gas.
4. Pull Over
When your vehicle has slowed to around 30 MPH, and you feel that it is safe, very slowly steer your vehicle to the shoulder of the highway. There you can bring your car or truck to a complete stop and let out a sigh of relief.
Do not: Pull over too quickly.
I really hope that none of us find ourselves in the position where we will have to recall this information. But I am glad that I do know what to do now if this happens to me. The most important thing to remember is to keep your forward momentum and avoid hard steering. Please share this post with your friends and family- you never know if it will help someone avoid a wreck!
And stay cool guys, stay cool.
At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin for ya.
This post was brought to you by Ally Mollenkamp