Imagine driving down the freeway at a brisk 72 mph, top down, your favorite song blaring on the radio… sounds like a carefree trip, right? Now imagine your tire blows, a loud pop followed by *thudthudthudthud*. What do you do now?
The best reaction to a flat tire on the freeway is no reaction. Keep your steering wheel straight and resist all urge to turn the vehicle in either direction. Your car will try to pull away from you, and because one end of the car will be lower than the other it can be very hard to combat this. Your car will try and spin around the flat, so be aware of which tire has blown. It should be obvious depending on how bad the flat is. You can generally see a tilt in the vehicle to either side.
As counterintuitive as this sounds, give it some gas. Your newly flattened tire is making your vehicle decelerate and you need to keep going at a reasonable speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicles traveling around you. Once you’ve assessed the situation you’ll need to start to ease off the gas and guide yourself onto a shoulder, or into a residential area if at all possible. Try to let the car lose momentum on it’s own. If you can, avoid using the breaks as it could cause you to spin out and potentially hit other vehicles. If you have blown a rear tire, make sure to be especially careful when slowing down, as they’re a bit more volatile than blown front tires.
Depending on which side of the vehicle your flat is on, ease yourself off of the road and onto a shoulder. If there’s available space and no traffic, go to the side where your tire isn’t closest to the freeway. It’s safest for you, your vehicle and for other drivers on the road. Take it easy, and don’t turn your steering wheel too sharply. Slow and precise movements will keep your vehicle under control and allow you to be as safe as possible. Once off the road, call for help or start the process of changing your tire on your own, provided you know how.
Proper tire care can keep you from having a flat, but they do happen to even the best mechanics out there. Make sure you’re checking your tires air pressure regularly, and get them rotated at least every 6 months, or every 6,000 miles. Remember that with the changing of the seasons, you also need to check your tires for low air! Prevention won’t always save you from a flat, but it will minimize the chances. If you have any additional questions about flat tire, stop in today!