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Helpful tips: How to avoid a burst tyre while driving at high speed

Published Dec 7, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Have you ever experienced the shock of a burst tyre while driving at high speed?

As a precaution to road accident fatalities over the festive season, Dewald Ranft, chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) says in most cases the cause is an unattended puncture.

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Sometimes people are lucky enough to detect the puncture early and can fix it, but it is not always the case.

“A burst tyre when travelling over 100km/h can be a frightening experience and a security risk to the driver and people in surrounding cars," he said.

Ranft received tips from the Cornerstone Youth Club in Bloemfontein and also chatted to Supaquick who reinforced some important safety measures.

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He shares them below:

Step 1 – Stay Calm

When a tyre explodes try to stay as calm as possible and hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands.

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Step 2 - Watch the brakes

It's most important to keep your foot off the brakes and don't push it at all. Most people’s natural instinct is to slam on brakes, however, this is the worst thing to do as it will throw the car off balance and could send you into a spin where the driver loses control of the vehicle completely.

Step 3 – try and keep your vehicle going straight

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You need to focus on your steering to ensure that you continue travelling straight in order to avoid any collisions following the blow-out. Your car will swerve in the direction of the blow-out but you should be able to remain in control if you can gradually slow down. Remember the deceleration force caused by the burst tyre will cause your car to slow down rapidly, so it is best to maintain your speed and then gradually ease off the accelerator.

Step 4 – what to do with your gears?

If your car has a manual transmission, gradually change to a lower gear BUT ONLY do so if you feel that the car is completely under control.

If your car has an automatic transmission, stay in the Drive (D) gear and DO NOT change. The drag from the exploded tyre will slow you down.

Step 5: Do not over-correct

When you first feel the swerve of your car after the blow-out, it may be tempting to panic and turn the steering wheel hard in the other direction. Unfortunately, this will only make the loss of control more likely. Rather do your best to keep it straight as detailed in the previous step.

Step 6: Let your vehicle coast to a stop

Let your vehicle come to a gradual stop, using engine braking, if necessary. Ensure it is safe for you and your car to stop there before stopping, and once you have come to a complete standstill, turn on your emergency or hazard lights. Generally when the speed drops to 50 km/h, you can gently press the brakes until the car stops.

“We urge all motorists to take these steps seriously and try and familiarise themselves with the various stages so that you and others on the road are more likely to survive a blow-out unscathed. It is also so important to stick to the speed limit in case of any unforeseen emergencies,” said Ranft.

Cape Times

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