Blowing it during a Tire Blowout

Dear Tracy,
I have not been driving very long, and have not had a lot of on-the-road experience. Even though I do take care of my tires and have all of the necessary maintenance done, I am worried about having a tire blowout while I am driving. I am afraid I will not be able to handle the car and have a wreck! Do you have any advice for me?
-Kristy M.

Dear Kristy,
Having a tire blowout while driving along at 55 mph is a frightening mishap, even for an experienced driver! It is great that you are doing what you can to keep your tires maintained to prevent a blowout, but road debris can easily destroy a good tire at any time.

If you find yourself in a blowout situation try to remember not to panic. It is very important that you maintain control and balance of your vehicle. If you slam on the brakes or even take your foot of the accelerator tot quickly, you will lose stability and control.

The best way to maneuver through a tire blowout is to first slowly release the accelerator. As you gradually reduce speed, correct steering until you regain control and stabilize the vehicle.

At this point, it should be safe for you to slowly pull off the road. Whether the blow occurs in the front or back, on the passenger’s side or driver’s side, a tire blow out should always be handled the same way.

While you should react the same way to a front or rear tire blowout, the two types of blowouts do not feel the same. A front blowout is felt in the steering of the vehicle, and a rear blowout is felt in the vehicle’s body.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) website, www.safercar.gov, has some helpful flash animation videos that demonstrate what to do and what not to do in the event of a blow out:

What not to do in a front tire blowout situation.

What to do in a front tire blowout situation.