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What Should You Do If You Have a Tire Blow Out?

A car with a tire that has suffered a blowout.

A tire blowout can be dangerous and is always unexpected. Unlike a flat tire that loses air gradually, a blown-out tire deflates instantly. If this happens to you, your safety will depend on your ability to maintain your composure. So what should you do if you have a tire blowout while you’re behind the wheel?

Before you can even think about replacing it with a spare tire, you need to get your car under control. If this happens to you while you’re behind the wheel, these tips can help you safely bring your car to a stop.

1. Head Straight With Gentle Steering Inputs

If your front tire goes, the nose of your car will pull toward the side of the vehicle where the blowout has occurred. You’ll likely be tempted to yank the steering wheel in an effort to correct the turn. Resist the urge to do this, since swerving will make it more difficult for you to control the vehicle and could scare other motorists into reacting dangerously. Instead, grip the steering wheel with hands at the 10-and-2 position, and try to keep it pointed straight ahead with subtle movements.

What if a rear tire blows out? If this happens, the back end of the vehicle will sway from one side to the other. Again, it’s important to resist the urge to steer the car sharply. Use gentle steering inputs, and aim to keep the vehicle moving in a straight line.

2. Don’t Slam on the Brakes

You’ll probably want to slam on the brakes in an effort to control the vehicle. However, it’s important that you avoid doing so at this stage. Hitting the brakes too hard at speed and without the proper traction of four tires could cause the car to spin out.

3. Gently Press the Throttle

Tapping the gas pedal may seem counterintuitive, but accelerating slightly will help maintain the vehicle’s forward momentum.

Keep in mind that the vehicle will slow down on its own even more quickly than normal due to the extra rolling resistance of the flat. Maintaining momentum by tapping the throttle can help you regain control of the car as it moves along a predictable forward path.

4. Ease off the Throttle After Regaining Control of the Car

Once you’ve regained control of the vehicle, take your foot off the gas. The blown tire won’t be able to roll quickly, and the vehicle will continue to decelerate. Continue to keep the vehicle pointed straight ahead without aggressively turning the steering wheel.

5. Gently Steer the Car to a Safe Place

When the car’s speed has slowed to below 30 mph, guide it to the side of the road and use light braking to bring it to a stop. Make sure you park in a place where there’s enough room to inspect the damage and put your spare tire on safely. Put your hazard lights on, and either change the tire yourself or call for assistance.

To avoid blowouts, regularly check your tire pressure to make sure it’s within safe levels. Also, check your tires for signs of wear, and promptly replace them if necessary.

What should you do if you have a tire blow out? Adhere to the advice above and react calmly so you can better position yourself to handle a potentially catastrophic situation safely.

Check out all the tires, wheels and accessories available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to handle a tire blowout, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.

Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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