Tyre blowouts can be dangerous - here's what to do if it happens to you
Johannesburg - A tyre blowout can be a scary experience and one that could lead to a loss of control. Thankfully blowouts can usually be prevented by regularly checking tyre pressures and replacing damaged tyres.
However, should it happen to you out on the open road, there are still a few procedures that you can follow to bring the car to the side of the road safely.
According to MasterDrive managing director Eugene Herbert, the number one rule is to remain as calm as possible.
“Do not slam on the brakes but rather slow down gradually by slowly removing your foot from the accelerator,” Herbert advises.
The next step is to steer the vehicle to the emergency lane or roadside while there is still momentum as stopping in the middle of the road could cause a big accident.
“Be extremely careful to not immediately swerve across lanes to reach the side of the road without checking that it is clear,” Herbert adds.
“As soon as it is safe to take a hand off the steering wheel, switch on your emergency lights. Brake gently once you are off the road and have slowed down considerably.”
If the area that you’re in feels unsafe, it might be advisable to continue driving very slowly to a place of safety, and while this might damage the wheel, it is important to put your own safety first.
If it does feel safe to stop, retrieve your emergency triangle and place it approximately 45 metres behind the car. You may change the wheel yourself if you know how, however if you’re in a position close to fast moving traffic, where there is a danger of another vehicle colliding with you, calling for assistance would be the best option. In such a situation waiting away from the car could protect you from a secondary collision, however if that is not the case and you are in a high-crime area then inside the car is safer.
How to prevent a blowout
The most common causes of tyre blowouts are underinflated or worn tyres, although hitting potholes is also a common cause.
It is advisable that you regularly check your tyre pressures with an accurate gauge, and if you do so at a petrol station, make sure that you are informed if one of the tyres is significantly down on pressure. If this is the case, you have a slow puncture and driving around on one could cause a blowout so it’s advisable to get it repaired at your nearest tyre fitment centre.
Herbert also warns against buying second hand tyres, even those that meet the minimum requirements.
Those four pieces of rubber around your wheels might be an uncomfortable grudge purchase, but neglect them and you could pay a far bigger price.