Five things to do during a tyre blowout

Here's what you should do when you are cruising along at 100km/h and you hear that dreaded pop.

Regular tyre maintenance may well reduce the risks of a blowout, but even with run-flat tyres, one can never guarantee that it will not happen to you.

When it does, at speed, whether you are an experienced driver or not, it can be a frightening experience.

According to Les Richardson, deputy chairperson of the Tyres Equipment Parts Association, the five most common reasons for blowouts are either an unattended puncture, worn or old tyres that overheat, a sudden loss of tyre pressure that causes the tyre to burst or fail, impact damage from potholes and suchlike, and finally, incorrect pressure having been applied to your tyres.

Tyre manufacturers are constantly developing and testing new compounds and tyre constructions to improve fuel efficiency and safer driving under all conditions. Run-flat technology, although expensive, is wonderful to have, but even with this, no blowouts cannot be guaranteed. Fitting these to your car does, however, provide greater peace of mind.

So what are you to do when you are cruising along at 100km/h and you hear that dreaded pop followed by the drop of the front left or right suspension of your car?

1. Always keep to the designated speed limit for the road you are using.
2. When you hear that dreaded pop, stay calm.
3. Do not step on the brakes. If you do, it will disturb the balance of the suspension even more than what the blowout has already caused.
4. Keep the steering as straight as possible and avoid overcorrecting (steering in the opposite direction of where the car is going).
5. Gently and slowly lift your foot from the accelerator to allow the car to slow down naturally.

When your car has slowed do to about 50km/h, it would be safe to gently apply the brakes and steer the car to a safe place to stop completely.

If your car is fitted with ABS and ECS (electronic stability control), like most cars are these days, and you follow these simple rules, it should be reasonably easy to manage the blowout successfully.

Once stopped, activate your hazards, inspect the damage and call for emergency assistance. If you have emergency triangles with you, put these out at the prescribed distances.

Source: Cathy Findley PR

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