Experiencing a tire blowout is probably one of the last things you want to experience, but it happens. Tire blowouts are scary and can be dangerous. The key to staying safe in this situation is to respond appropriately. Let’s talk about handling a tire blowout.

What Does a Tire Blowout Sound Like?

The sound you hear during a tire blowout depends on the situation. In general, you may hear a loud bang or boom, which will be the sound of the tire popping. You may also hear a whooshing sound, that is the air leaving the tire. You could also hear a repeated flapping sound, that is the sound of the deflated tire hitting the road.

What Does a Tire Blowout Feel Like?

If the front tire bursts, you will force the force mostly on the steering wheel. If the rear tire bursts, you’ll feel the brunt of the burst in the seat or body of the vehicle. It’s important to note that regardless of where the blowout occurred, your response should be the same.

How Do You Drive Through a Tire Blowout?

The first step is remaining calm. You need to make sure you’re keeping the vehicle balanced and maintain control of the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests doing the following to safely drive through a tire blowout:

  • Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel (with both hands)
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes
  • Gradually lift your foot from the accelerator to slow down your vehicle
  • Adjust the steering wheel as needed to stabilize your vehicle and maintain control
  • Steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go
  • Pull your car over to the shoulder of the road once the vehicle has slowed to a safe speed
  • Turn on your hazard lights

What Are the Causes of Tire Blowouts?

The following are different factors that can contribute to tire blowouts:

  • Tire damage: any kind of tire damage, such as bulges, punctures, and cuts, can weaken its structure and increase the risk of a blowout. It’s important to have your tires inspected regularly to identify and repair any damages.
  • Tire wear and tear: as time progresses, tires wear naturally because of friction with the road’s surface. As the tire’s tread wear, it becomes more susceptible to tire blowouts. Keep an eye on the tire tread depth and replace any tire when necessary.
  • Underinflation: when tires don’t have enough air pressure, they can flex, which generates heat and increases the risk of a tire blowout. Regularly checking the tire pressure and inflating your tires to the recommended levels is essential for blowout prevention.
  • Overloading: exceeding your vehicle’s and tire’s maximum load capacity puts a stain on the tires, making them more susceptible to failure. To prevent capacity overloading and tire blowout, you need to stick to the vehicle’s weight limits and ensure the weight is evenly distributed.
  • High temperatures: high temperatures can increase the rate of deterioration of your tires, making them more prone to blowouts, especially if your tires are underinflated or damaged. If you can, park in shaded areas to help reduce the temperature of the tires and avoid driving at high speeds, especially in hot weather.

How Do I Know If My Tire Is Getting Ready to Blowout?

Here are the signs you need to look for to determine if you are about to experience a tire blowout:

  • Vibration: if your tire is vibrating excessively while you’re driving, this could be an indication that there is an issue with the tire balance or alignment. Ignoring this sign can lead to a tire blowout.
  • Pulling sensation: if you notice that your vehicle is pulling to one side while driving, this could indicate tire problems. Uneven tire pressure or tire wear can cause the pulling sensation you’re feeling. In this situation, you should have your tire(s) inspected and perform standard maintenance.
  • Bulging or Blisters: if there are bulges or blisters on the tire’s sidewall, this means your tire(s) is damaged. Blisters and bulges are weak spots on the tire that can lead to a blowout if this issue isn’t addressed promptly and properly.
  • Decrease in tire pressure: if you lose tire pressure often, it could mean you have a slow leak or a punctured tire. Failure to correct this issue can lead to a sudden blowout while driving.
  • Strange tire noises: pay close attention to strange noises coming from the tires, such as hissing, flapping, or thumping sounds. These noises can indicate tire damage or air leaking from the tire. You could also have a flat tire. This issue needs to be addressed immediately to keep you and other people safe on the road.

You may be surprised at how much recognizing the causes and signs of a tire blowout can help you take the proper steps to prevent a tire blowout and stay safe.

What To Do If You Experience a Tire Blowout While Driving

Experiencing a tire blowout while driving is categorized as a worst-case scenario. However, knowing what to do if a tire blowout occurs will help you stay safe and prevent an accident. Let’s talk about the steps you need to take if a tire blowout occurs while you’re driving.

Stay Calm

The first step is often the most important, especially in this situation. It’s easy to panic and lose your train of thought. However, staying calm is essential for properly addressing this situation. Sudden tire blowouts often cause your vehicle to go in the direction of the tire that has blown out, so you need to keep the steering wheel as steady as possible.

Avoid Slamming Your Brakes

The first thing that may come to your mind during a tire blowout is to slam your brakes. However, try to avoid slamming your brakes. Instead, slowly remove your foot from the accelerator, and you be able to maintain control of the vehicle more easily. Avoiding slamming on your brakes also reduces the risk of losing control of your vehicle or skidding.

Steer Your Vehicle in the Right Direction

When a tire blows out, gently turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the blown tire. Steering in the opposite direction helps mitigate the pulling effect due to the deflated tire and also keeps your vehicle on a straight path.

Find a Safe Place to Pull Over

After you’ve regained control of your vehicle, find a safe place off the road to park your car. Make sure you use your turn signals to indicate to other drivers that are changing lanes. Once you reach a safe location on the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights to increase the visibility of you and your vehicle to other drivers.

What Do I Do If My Front or Rear Tire Blows Out?

If your front or rear tire blows out, you’ll take similar steps to the ones listed above. However, there are a couple of differences. If your front tire blows out, it could significantly impact your control of the steering wheel. In this case, maintain a secure grip on the steering wheel and be prepared for it to feel heavy and more difficult to control.

If your rear tire blows out, your vehicle may fishtail, which means your rear tires will lose traction. You still need to remain calm in this situation. Remove your foot from the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the swaying motion to regain control of your vehicle.

What Do I Do If My Tire Blows Out While I’m On the Highway or Freeway?

If a tire blowout happens while you’re traveling on the highway or freeway, this can be scary because you’re likely traveling at high speeds. In this situation, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  • Stay focused on the road and avoid sudden lane changes because this can increase the risk of being involved in a collision with other vehicles.
  • Slowly remove your foot from the accelerator to gradually reduce your speed. Avoid slamming on the brakes because this can cause your vehicle to skid and it’s easier to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Use your turn signal to let other drivers know you need to change lanes. Move your vehicle as close to the next exit as possible or find a safe area to come to a complete stop on the shoulder of the highway.
  • Once you have pulled over and are in a safe spot, turn on your hazard lights, and take a look at the damage. If needed, contact a roadside assistance service or tire repair shop to replace the blown tire.

Who Should I Call If My Tire Blows Out?

If your tire blows out, you can call a friend or relative to come and help. If no one can get to you, you can call the following numbers for assistance:

  • Roadside assistance: if you have roadside assistance included on your auto insurance policy, now would be a great time to use it! Other roadside assistance programs, such as AAA, can come to the rescue. Roadside assistance services can replace your tire, or take your vehicle to a nearby repair shop.
  • Towing service: if you don’t have a roadside assistance membership or need immediate assistance, you can call the local towing service for help. The towing company will transport your vehicle to a nearby repair facility for a fee.
  • Emergency services: if you are stuck in an unsafe location, call the local authorities for assistance. Local authorities can ensure your safety and help you through the next steps.

Whether you call a tow truck, local authorities, or use your roadside assistance membership, make sure you provide the essential details, such as your location, and the nature of your situation. Providing this information will help these providers assist you more effectively.

What Can I Do If My Tire Blows and I Don’t Have a Spare?

If one or more of your tires blow and you don’t have a spare, stay calm and take one of the following actions:

  • Contact roadside assistance immediately: if you have a membership with a roadside assistance company, call and ask for guidance on the next steps you should take. If you need a tow truck, your roadside assistance can help get things situated, even if you need a tire repair or replacement.
  • Consider temporary solutions: if you can’t get help immediately, a temporary solution may help get you back on the road. Depending on the damage, you may be able to use a tire sealant or inflator kit, which will temporarily seal the tire puncture and inflate the tire, so you can get to an auto repair shop to address the problem properly.
  • Repair or Replace your tire(s): if your tire(s) can’t be repaired, they’ll need to be replaced. Contact your local tire shop or mechanic about the specific type of tire you need, availability, and pricing.

Keep in mind that driving on a flat or damaged tire is dangerous, and can cause further damage to your vehicle.

Standard Tire Maintenance and Inspections

Performing standard tire maintenance and having your vehicle inspected is essential for preventing tire blowouts and improving your safety while traveling. You will also need to check the tire’s pressure regularly. Once you check the tire pressure, make sure the number(s) match the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

Don’t forget to inspect the tire tread! Worn-out tire tread can increase the risk of a tire blowout, which can occur at any time. To determine the tire’s tread depth, use the penny test to measure the depth of the tread. If the tread falls below the manufacturer’s or expert’s recommended level, you should replace the tire.

Inspect the tire’s sidewalls. You’ll want to check for damage, including cracks, cuts, and bulges. If the tire’s sidewalls are damaged, the tire can become weak and make them more susceptible to blowouts.

You’ll also need to rotate your tires. Rotating your tires regularly helps distribute wear and tear on the tires evenly, which extends the tire’s lifespan and reduces the chance of a blowout.

Proper wheel alignment is also important. If your wheels are misaligned, this can cause uneven wear on your tires and increase the chance of a blowout. It’s best to have your wheels aligned by a professional to ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers.

What Is the Proper Response to a Tire Blowout?

When you know how to properly respond to a tire blowout, you can ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. The proper way to respond to a tire blowout is to remain calm and in control of your vehicle.

Don’t slam on the brakes or make sudden moves. You want to slowly remove your foot from the accelerator so you can maintain control of your vehicle and prevent skidding. Finding a safe location to pull over is paramount. Gently steer your vehicle in the direction you want to go, which is to a safe side of the road or safe shoulder on the highway.

Don’t forget to use your turn signal and hazard lights! Your turn signals are important for letting other drivers know that you need to switch lanes and that you’re pulling over to the side of the road. You need to use the hazard lights to help your vehicle remain visible to other drivers, especially if the sun is setting, it’s early in the morning, or if it’s already nighttime.

How Can I Prevent a Tire Blowout?

Preventing a tire blowout is easier than it sounds. To prevent a tire blowout, you must check your tires regularly to ensure they have enough air and are not damaged before heading to your destination. Tire pressure is important! Check the tire’s pressure often and inflate the tires correctly if needed, including the spare tire.

When you’re turning a corner, reduce your speed. Going high speeds around a corner promotes excessive wear and tear on the tires. You should also use quality tires. Quality tires don’t mean the most expensive tires. Purchase tires that are recommended for your vehicle and ensure they are free of damage.

Don’t drive distracted! If you are distracted, it’s easier for you to run over an object that can damage your tire(s). Maintain your focus on the road. You also don’t want to overload your vehicle. Carrying too much weight stresses your tires and can eventually cause a blowout.

Make sure you’re rotating your tires regularly. If you rotate your tires every 3 months, you can prevent a tire blowout and extend the lifespan of the tires. Ensure you have a tire alignment performed each time your car is serviced to prevent uneven wear and tear on the tires, which could lead to a blowout.

What Happens When a Tire Blows Out?

When a tire blows out, you can suddenly lose control of your vehicle and the stability of the vehicle will diminish. Your vehicle may pull to one side, and you may hear a loud noise or feel a strong vibration, especially in the steering wheel. You need to remain calm to ensure you can maintain control of the vehicle and find a safe location to pull over.

Tire blowouts can be scary and can happen suddenly. If you find yourself in this unexpected, unfortunate situation, remember the tips discussed previously, and you should be just fine! Stay safe and happy driving!