It’s still Tyre Safety Month, so we thought we’d give you some guidance on how to avoid a blowout – and how to do deal with one if it happens. Knowing how to react could make the difference between life and death.
A puncture is a measured discharge of air from a tyre, either through a little hole or leaking valve. In most situations where you experience an ordinary puncture, you should be able to bring your car to a stop without risk. Look for warning signs such as heavy steering, and an inclination for the vehicle to pull one way or the other.
Inflation And Tread
Tyre blowouts are rare these days, and if you make sure your tyres are looked after with the right inflation – and changed before they reach their legal lowest possible tread – then you are unlikely to undergo a blowout.
But any tyre blowout creates an instantaneously dangerous situation. Take into account that the best procedures for staying in control of your vehicle may well go against your instincts, but it’s vital to avoid destabilising your car further, and it’s imperative to try not to put more strain on the other tyres.
Don’t Try To Steer Back On Track
In a blowout, the air is released instantly from a tyre. Reasons include under-inflation, damage from hitting a kerb or striking something on the road. You will face an abrupt and aggressive swerve to the right or left. It’s vital not to make any movement of the steering wheel with the intention of pointing the vehicle back in its original direction.
Don’t Brake Hard
In a front wheel blowout, one of your tyres will have lost all its pressure, and you could be travelling on exposed wheel rims. Don’t brake harshly, as this will intensify the weight on the front tyres and could make the wheel rim dig into the road surface, causing the vehicle to lose stability and even overturn. In a back wheel blowout, any effort to steer or brake hard can amplify drag, meaning the car will be much harder to keep control of. Your vehicle may even spin 360-degrees.
Recover Control Calmly
The main concern directly after a blowout is to recover control. Don’t brake hard; maintain speed, grasp the steering wheel with each hand and concentrate on the road ahead. Look in your mirrors, then signal left and steer your car calmly towards the side of the road, or to the motorway’s hard shoulder. Use your gears to slow down steadily, then when you have come to a stop, put on the handbrake and switch on the car’s hazard warning lights.