Having a tire blow out when traveling on the interstate or highway is one of the most dangerous automotive emergencies a driver (and passengers, too) can ever face.
Our natural instinct is to slam on the brakes and pull off onto the shoulder as soon as possible. Those two actions are probably the worst things that you can do, especially if it’s a rear tire that has blown out. Turning the wheel at a high speed increases the likelihood that the car will spin out. It’s possible that you could even roll.
So what should you do if your tire blows while driving?
Keep calm. No way, right? How can you keep calm after you hear your tire blow and you’re traveling next to other cars on a busy interstate? Maintaining your composure is crucial to keeping you and your passengers safe. You don’t want to panic and slam on your brakes.
Accelerate. This is another piece of advice that goes against our natural instincts. According to Popular Mechanics, you should press the gas pedal for an instant. Hitting the accelerator will allow you to stabilize the vehicle. And don’t worry–the car will not gain speed no matter how long you press the accelerator. The dragging force of a flat tire won’t allow you to truly accelerate.
Drive straight. Allow the car to coast down to slow and then gently pull onto the shoulder. Your vehicle will pull strongly to the left or right depending on which tire burst. Concentrate on steering the car in the direction you want it to go, and fight the urge to over-steer. Just make small adjustments.
When you have control of your vehicle, put your hazard lights on so those around you who didn’t see your tire blow are alerted that you are slowing down.
Pull over. Once the vehicle has stabilized, slow down and begin to pull over to the side of the road.
After you get your car pulled over and stopped, it’s time to either change your tire or call for roadside assistance.
Although you can’t necessarily ward off a flat tire, there are a few precautionary steps to take: keep an eye on your tire treads and pressure, and keep both hands on the wheel. It’s much harder to steer your car if one hand is holding the bottom of the steering wheel and the other is holding a drink.