Have you ever been in a vehicle and suddenly hear the tyre burst? If you have, you know that your life can change in a split second on the road. No wonder people flood churches regularly to give testimony when their brakes fail or their tyres explode while driving when travelling. What the driver does in those minutes can be the difference between life and death.
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But what if you are the one driving? What should you do when your car tyres unexpectedly burst on the road?
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Panicking when something unplanned happens is a natural reaction. In fact, the reaction of others in a similar situation with you can destabilize you and make you panic. But if you are mentally ready for a crisis like a burst tyre while travelling, you will remember to be calm. It is only when you calm down, you can think quickly of how to respond. How you respond could determine if it leads to an accident or not.
Take Your Feet Off The Brakes
If you immediately step on the brakes as soon as you hear the sound, feel the deflation/grinding of the wheels after the tire bursts, it might be catastrophic. Your car might overturn in the direction of the burst tyre. Rather focus on steering wheel control at that moment not pulling any handbrake or stepping on the brake/any pedals.
Stay On Your Path
Don’t swerve off your lane to the curbside immediately it happens. Calmly put on your hazard lights to let other drivers around you know something is wrong with your car. They will naturally avoid you when you do so. Usually, when you experience a blowout, your wheel will want to go in the direction of the burst tire. Instead, pull it in the opposite direction. This is usually a challenge for manual cars, but it is imperative you keep the wheel going straight. Keep a firm grasp of the steering wheel.
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Reduce Your Speed Gradually
To do this, you can put your gear in neutral if you are driving a manual car. Don’t take your feet off the accelerator instantly. Once the car has significantly slowed, that’s when you can try switching to the service lane. If you are driving an automatic car, don’t change your gear (from Drive). Don’t use brakes to slow the car down; the drag from the burst tyre will take care of reducing the momentum of the car.
Gently Apply Brakes Once Speed Drops Below 50km/H
There is a right and a wrong way to apply brakes in a crisis of this nature. We’ve already touched on the wrong time to apply brakes. However, when your car has slowed down considerably, and you are not in danger, you can gently apply pressure to your brakes to roll it to a stop.
To be on the safe side, make a habit of driving at a safe speed. Watch your speed when you travel. You can also make a habit of changing your tyres every 1000km it travels. Don’t wait till the tyres have filed till the point of being smooth before you change them. Also, when prepping the car for your trip, gauge it properly. Don’t over-inflate your tyres. Balance, rotate and align your tyres. Check for cuts on the walls of the tyres before travelling with them. Lastly, don’t drive too fast (e.g. above 120km/h) and don’t crawl (e.g. below 40km/h) on the highway either.
It is important to note that car tyres’ pressure is affected by car loading, the temperature of the day, tyre age, driving speed, state of the road, etc. Having a burst tyre is not totally preventable. That’s why knowing what to do when it occurs is essential.
Featured Image Source: News24
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