Driving down the highway, a sudden, jolting pop. The heart races, the mind sharpens. Adrenaline rushes. In the face of a tyre blowout, panic is a natural response. However, it’s in these moments that a calm and collected approach can make all the difference. This may or may not have happened to you. There are people who have experienced it that are lucky to still be alive to talk about it, while some…not so lucky.
Hence, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to handle a blowout without it leading to serious injuries or even fatalities.
But first, we need to know the factors that causes tyre blowouts. Many reasons could be factors and understanding these causes are crucial for preventing such incidents. Here are some common reasons for tyre blowouts:
Underinflation: Means, operating a vehicle with tires that doesn’t have enough pressure. This is a leading cause of blowouts. When a tyre doesn’t have enough air pressure, it generates excessive heat, weakening the tyre structure and increasing the risk of failure.
Overloading: This simply means that you have exceeded your tires maximum load capacity. Basically, the car is too heavy la. You squeeze 10 adults and their baggages in the car then what you expect? Overloading can put excessive strain on the tires, leading to overheating and eventual failure.
Overinflation: Just as underinflation is problematic, so are overinflating tires. This causes the tyre to be rigid and less able to absorb road impacts, making it more prone to damages and blowouts.
Potholes and road hazards: Driving over potholes, through curb or other road hazard at high speed can cause immediate damage to tires, potentially leading to a blowout.
Age and wear: Tires naturally deteriorate over time, even if they haven’t been used extensively. Rubber degrades, and the tires structural integrity weakens, increasing the risk of blowouts.
Overheating: Extended periods of high-speed driving or excessive braking can generate significant heat in the tyres. It can lead to a blowout.
Improper maintenance: Neglecting regular tyre maintenance, such as failing to rotate them based on wear, not doing alignment for the wheels, or ignoring signs of damage, can increase the potential of a blowout.
Puncture or impact damage: Sharp objects on the road, like nails or glass, can puncture tires. Also, a hard impact, such as hitting a sharp object or curb, can cause hidden damage that leads to a blowout later.
Poor quality or old tires: When you buy poor quality tires, or 2nd hand tires – on the cheap, that have exceeded their service life, this may lead to blowouts, as their materials may have degraded.
Now that we have understood the reason for tyre blowouts, lets dive straight to the ways you stay alive in case of blowouts.
Maintain composure under pressure
When a tyre blowout happens, the situation demands composure and good reflex reaction on your side. Gently ease off the accelerator and grip that steering wheel as hard as you can. Avoid distractions and focus solely on regaining control. Don’t panic, you can do it! Keep your eyes on the path ahead and find a safe place to steer your car towards.
Utilize the brakes smartly
In instances where controlling the car seems difficult, apply the brakes with measured precision. Don’t step on it hard, you may accidentally make the car flip while it’s losing control. Gradually applying the brakes can help stabilize the vehicle.
From this moment on, there are two outcomes. In the scenario where you have managed to regain control, calm youself down and check for any visible injuries. Say your prayers and thank your god.
On the other hand, in a scenario where you fail to regain control of the car, you most likely are already involved in an accident, unfortunately. You could be dead or still alive. Either way, the next part doesn’t apply to you. In case, you escaped without a scratch, here’s what you should do:
Visibility is crucial in avoiding further accidents. Illuminate your vehicle with hazard lights, headlights, and taillights. This signals your presence and predicament to other drivers, reducing the risk of collision.
Exercising extreme caution in changing tires
Swapping a tyre on a busy roadway is really dangerous. The risk of collision with passing vehicles is sometimes too high as most vehicles may be coming at high speed or they may not be able to see you clearly. It is advised to await professional assistance. Dialing the emergency hotline or contacting your insurance provider is the best course of action.
Executing a quick and safe tyre change
If you insist of changing your own tyre, proceed with extreme caution. Activate hazard lights and position the safety triangle at a significant distance behind the vehicle. Quickly replace the blown tyre, ensuring the lug nuts are securely fastened.
Having an extra set of hands to guide the traffic is advisable – if you have passengers in the car with you at the time or you could always ask for help from passersby. In the event of an approaching vehicle, move to the side of the road for safety.
In conclusion, this guide is a reminder that in such moments, composure is your greatest ally. By adhering to safety protocols and prioritizing control, you can transform a potentially dangerous situation into a manageable one. May your journeys be safe and swift…and always stay on top of things. Meaning, always check your tires before starting your journey.