(NC) As seasons change and temperatures rise, so do the number of tire blowouts around the country. Tire failures put drivers in an unexpected, frightening and dangerous situation. And, while it’s an experience no motorist wishes to endure, it’s important to understand how to react when it happens.
Properly controlling a vehicle when a tire failure occurs is key to minimizing damage and danger. When a tire blows out, you may hear a loud noise or feel a vibration, or the vehicle may pull toward the side of the failed tire. If this occurs, keep the following tips in mind:
1.Remain calm and control the vehicle. Staying calm may seem like an unrealistic expectation, but you help by keeping a straight head and handling the situation in a composed manner. Gently remove your foot from the accelerator and let the vehicle slow down gradually. Keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel and guide the vehicle straight ahead. The tires are going to try to pull toward one side, but it’s extremely important not to turn the car. Pull over to the shoulder and come to a complete stop.
2.Make yourself visible to other drivers. If possible, try to pull over with the damaged tire facing away from traffic. This will make it easier and safer to observe and replace the tire. It is vital to make your vehicle visible to other drivers on the road.
Once the vehicle has safely come to a complete stop, turn on the emergency flashers and observe your surroundings.
If road conditions are safe, exit the vehicle, put out reflective cones if available, and assess the situation.
3.Observe the damage. If one or more of the tires looks flat, low or shows detachment or other damage, remove the tire assembly and replace it with a properly inflated spare. Bumps or bulges in a tire may indicate detachment within the tire body and require inspection by a qualified tire technician.
4.Replace the damaged tire. Check the vehicle’s owner’s manual to find where the spare tire and necessary tools to change it are stored. If you don’t know how to switch the tire, call for roadside assistance. It’s important not to drive on the flat tire. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but it can also do more harm to your vehicle. Remember that spare tires are only recommended for emergency situations and should not be driven on for long distances or at high speeds.
While tire blowouts are not 100 per cent avoidable, taking proactive steps to ensure your tires are well maintained can help decrease the chances of damage. Nokian Tyres’ experts recommend taking precautions such as:
• Check tire pressure at least once a month.
• Avoid driving on underinflated or overinflated tires.
• Avoid overloading a vehicle.
• Avoid driving over potholes and curbs.
• Drive at moderate speeds to decrease the chance of a tire failing.
Find more tire safety tips at nokiantires.com.