How To Handle A Tire Blowout Or Puncture While Driving

How To Handle A Tire Blowout Or Puncture While Driving

The scenario in which a tire undergoes a blowout or a puncture while driving is one of the most frightening nightmares for any driver. Such a turn on the road can seriously endanger the life and health of both the driver and the passengers. Unfortunately, a blowout or a puncture is a very real possibility from which humans are not protected. There is a more optimistic scenario for those with run-flat tires that allow drivers to reach the nearest service center unharmed.

But, what measures can we take as drivers when a car with ordinary tires faces such circumstances? How do we react if the tire fails at high speed? How do we protect our lives and the lives of people around us?

Every driver must know the answers to these questions. And even if we don't have much time to think, we have to react as promptly as possible in such conditions. Today we are talking about vehicle handling during a tire puncture or a blowout. The recommendations in this article can save your life in such a situation. For this reason, remember all the suggestions here, and I hope you never end up applying them.

The Power Of The Survival Instinct

Regardless of all the possible protection methods, the first factor that will jump to save us will be our survival instinct. This natural reaction plays a significant role in circumstances where our life is in danger.

The bad part is that no one knows exactly how each person's instinct will be activated in a certain situation of danger. Some people trigger the self-defense system, looking for ways out of the dangerous environment. Others arm themselves with courage and fight directly against danger as against a real enemy.

Very often, drivers tend to instinctively turn the steering wheel in the direction opposite to the danger to protect themselves. They do this recklessly, without taking into account that they could expose the passengers to direct danger. And there is nothing to blame; instinct is an absolutely unpredictable phenomenon and acts beyond any control.

In positive scenarios, instinct acts in our favor, often saving our lives. Thus, we press the brake suddenly to avoid an unexpected and dangerous impact. So, this is a natural mechanism that regardless of how it works, has the purpose of protecting our safety. Some of the recommendations in this article cannot be carried out on an instinctive level. However, it is necessary to consider them because the brain can instinctively look for useful information in just a few milliseconds when faced with an emergency.

Tire Puncture VS Tire Blowout

First of all, let's see what makes these 2 situations different. We all understand that these are possible while driving, but not everyone knows what exactly these 2 threats mean.
The less risky threat is tire puncture. This occurs after a cut or damage to the tire that leads to its gradual deflation. Tire puncture does not necessarily happen only after a cut. This can also happen when a tire valve is damaged and it begins releasing air.

Either way, the idea is that the wheel releases the air inside through any hole created by an impact. In most cases, drivers can bring the car to a safe stop if they handle the situation correctly.

In contrast...

The scenario of a blowout is a more drastic and dangerous one because it supposes an immediate and somewhat violent deflation of the tire. This can happen after an aggressive impact with an obstacle on the road or a faulty tire. Such collapse leads to the total loss of tire integrity, leading to an increased risk of accidents.

How Do You Know The Tire Suffered A Puncture Or A Blowout?

Several symptoms are letting you know that the tire underwent a puncture while driving. Consider them and stop the car for a detailed visual inspection if in doubt.

-the steering wheel becomes shuddering. You start to feel how the steering wheel seems to vibrate. This may be the effect of a flat tire;
- you control the steering wheel harder. The steering wheel requires unusual additional effort. Such a scenario is usually characteristic of slow puncture of the tire;
- you feel how the car steers to the left or right. Even if you keep the steering wheel straight, it seems to pull in one direction or another, generating effort in handling it. The scenario is specific to the average puncture of the tire;
- you lose control over the car, it turns aggressively in different directions. This scenario is specific for tire blowouts when the tire blows and disintegrates upon puncture.

If the tire puncture has fairly mild symptoms, the tire blowout is a violent process that can generate a loss of control over the steering wheel.

Recommendations To Keep In Mind

We would all like a tire blowout to happen at any time, except for when we are driving at high speed. However, this process can happen at any time and you must be as prepared as possible.

Regardless of the danger you face while driving, you must try your best to remain as calm and lucid as possible. The lucidity of the mind will allow you to react correctly in an emergency.

You have to understand that once a tire undergoes a blowout, the whole car will become severely unstable and difficult to handle and control. In this context, it is important not to force the steering wheel in any direction to restore stability. On the contrary, you will destabilize it even more with any sudden turn.

Get Yourself Together

Try to regain control of the car, maneuvering the steering wheel as little as possible and centering the direction forward. As far as possible, keep away from other cars in traffic and on the road verge. Being near the road verge can derail the car off the road.

Hold the steering wheel tightly with both hands and feel in control of it. Also, keep in mind the rearview mirrors to make sure there are no obstacles near you.

What matters most is your reaction from the very first moments once the tire has blown out. You have to realize that it is not a good idea to immediately take your foot off the accelerator. By doing so, all the weight of the car will suddenly go from the rear to the front tires, which complicates the situation even more.

It is not excluded that with a tire blowout, the car will start to swerve. I know that instinctively, you will want to slam on the brakes. But try to refrain so as not to make the situation worse. More than that, try to keep the accelerator pedal because, in this way, the car regains its stability.

I know it's hard to believe that such techniques can help. But believe me, these recommendations are confirmed by specialists, even if they contradict your instinct.

Slamming On The Brakes Is Not An Option

I know that the temptation to break is extremely high, and it seems as logical and wise as possible. But violent braking generates major pressure on the front axle. In the context in which the front tire was the one affected, the pressure and weight on the axle will lead to even greater pressure on the punctured tire. Consequently, the rim of the punctured tire can begin digging into the road, causing the car to overturn.

Sudden braking is not an option even when the punctured tire is on the rear axle. The drag factor is likely to increase in such a scenario and the car will severely lose its balance. The steering wheel control will become defective and the car is likely to swerve and spin 360 degrees.

So, while keeping the car under the accelerator pedal, try to maneuver it with gentle turns of the steering wheel towards a safe area turning the emergency gang on.
Once you feel that you have regained control over the car, you can carefully and gently reduce the speed, taking your foot off the accelerator pedal.

Do not intervene in the slowing down process, but rather let the engine gear down the speed until you reach the area where you feel safe and can stop the car.
Once the danger has already passed, you can either replace the tire by yourself, request an evacuator, or ask for a helping hand to change the defective tire.

Final Notes

We hope that these recommendations will never be necessary. However, you must get familiar with them, just in case. The danger in case of a tire blowout is imminent in the very first few moments until you restore the stability of the vehicle. So it is important to be as vigilant and aware as possible in those first moments to get out of the difficulty you got yourself into. Your instinct may think that you should proceed differently. However, traffic safety experts conclude that these measures are the safest ones from a physical and mechanical point of view. May your driving be safe!

Leave your comment

Need live support?

  • Mon - Fri: 8am - 7pm ET
  • Sat: 9am - 5pm ET
  • Sun: Closed