What is a blowout?
A blowout is when a tyre rapidly loses inflation leading to an explosion. Tyre blowouts can happen for several reasons; such as over-inflation, under-inflation, overloading the vehicle and neglect. These factors can weaken the integrity of the tyre to the point where it can no longer contain the pressurised air. The rapid escaping of the air combined with the movement of the wheel causes further damage to the structure of the tyre.
Taking the right actions after getting a blowout can mean the difference between a minor accident and a fatal one.
Controlling your car during a front tyre blowout
It is very important to remain calm, avoid slamming on the brakes and not make any sudden turns. Place both hands firmly on the steering wheel holding it firmly in the straight position. Check your mirrors for any other road users and examine the road ahead to determine a safe route to come to a gradual stop.
While your first instinct may be to brake, it is crucial that you do not take your foot completely off the accelerator. Any rapid deceleration could cause more weight to be put on the front tyres. This can cause the car to swerve in the direction of the damaged tyre and if the tyre has been completely removed, the steel rim or alloy wheel may grip the tarmac and cause the car to flip.
If you sense that the car swerving to one side try to maintain momentum rather than braking as this can help to regain control of the vehicle.
If you’re driving a manual car, it can help to engage a lower gear rather than braking to reduce the speed of the car. Be careful not to cause any jerks or sudden movements. It may be safer to keep both hands on the steering wheel to maintain control.
Controlling your car during a rear tyre blowout
Rear tyre blowouts will increase the drag effect and affect the balance of the car. This will make steering the vehicle a challenge. A rear tyre blowout can cause the car to swerve or fishtail with the potential of spinning out of control. Ease of the accelerator and in an automatic allow the engine to engage lowers gears to bring the car to a controlled and gradual stop. In a manual car engage a lower gear rather than braking to bring the car to a controlled and gradual stop.
In all cases, your main aim is to maintain the safe control of the carwhile bringing it to a managed and gradual stop. If using the brake pedal to slow the car down, do so very gently. Use your indicator to make other road users aware of your intended direction. When the car has come to a complete stop, apply the handbrake and turn the hazard lights on.
Can Blowouts Be Avoided?
Regularly checking and looking after your tyres can reduce the risk of having a blowout. Follow the simple steps below to take car of your tyres:
- Check your tyre pressures weekly (Refer to the owners handbook for the correct tyre pressure)
- Check tyres weekly for any visual signs of damage such as cuts or bulges
- Check your tyres condition before long journeys
- Replace tyres regularly
- Purchase tyres from reputable suppliers and brands
- Never overload the car
- Checking the tread depth