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Friday, February 10, 2012

How To Handle Tire Blow Outs

If you suffer a tire blowout while driving, the type of vehicle you are driving will play a major part in your ability to maintain control. Vehicles such as SUVs and vans are much more prone to flipping over after suffering a blowout because of their high center of gravity. Vehicles such as sedans are less prone to flip because their center of gravity is much lower. Imagine a block of wood laid out on its broad face versus the same block lying on its narrow side. The block lying on its narrow side is much easier to tip over than the one laying on its broad face. The same principle is true with cars and SUVs. A tire blowout can be an especially scary emergency but, if you know how to handle it, it doesn't have to mean a complete loss of control.

First, you should never allow your tires to become so worn that they are on the verge of blowing out. An easy method to see of your tires have enough tread remaining is the penny check. Using a penny, stick it into the tread. If you can still see the top of Abraham Lincoln's head, your tires are too worn and they need to be replaced immediately. However, even with good tires, a blowout is still possible.

Here are a few Tire Safety Tips from the National Safety Commission.

When your tire blows, the car will want to veer toward the side with the blown out tire. This makes losing a front tire especially treacherous. Losing a rear tire will be similar to skidding on ice whereas losing a front tire will be similar to a skid combined with sluggish steering control. If your tire blows out, here is what you need to know.

  • Don't apply the brakes. The lack of a tire on one side will make your braking uneven or "asymmetrical" and can cause your car to veer off even more.

  • Concentrate on steering. No matter what type of emergency you are experiencing, whether it is skidding, hydroplaning, or a blowout, the first thing you want to do is concentrate on steering the car in the direction you want it to go. Fight the urge to over steer. Small adjustments, to keep the car centered in your lane, are what is needed. Don't worry about the hazards on either side, just look at where you need the car to go and steer toward that point.

  • Allow the car to slow down gradually. Again, you don’t want to apply the brakes and take the chance of veering off. With a blown tire, the car will slow down on its own pretty quickly.

  • Softly apply the brakes only when you have fully regained control of your vehicle.

  • Steer the car off the road. Once you are completely off the road, turn on your hazard lights and get out of the car. If you are going to try to change the tire yourself, don’t attempt to change it unless you are far enough off the roadway that you can work around the car without getting close to the roadway. If you can’t change the tire, call for a tow truck. Never attempt to drive the vehicle on the steel rims. That will cause a lot more damage.

Always keep these procedures in the back of your mind. If you are mentally prepared to deal with a vehicle emergency, chances are you will respond to the emergency correctly rather than panicking and making things worse.

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