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Tire blowouts are dangerous to all drivers

We've all seen the huge chunks of rubber - the lasting remnants of a shredded truck tire - littering Massachusetts highways. But what caused the blowout? Was there a serious accident? Did the truck driver lose control? What would you do if you were passing an 18-wheeler and a tire simply exploded?

While tire blowouts can severely impact a driver's ability to control the vehicle, if a driver remains calm, he or she should be able to safely navigate the vehicle off the road. Unfortunately, this means that a young driver, a driver who does not have the proper training or a distracted driver will typically overreact - and cause serious collisions.

Whether you are the driver of a vehicle with a blown tire or you are sharing the road with an out-of-control truck, the important thing is to remain calm. If you blow a tire, Tire Rack suggests counter-steering and maintaining constant accelerator pedal pressure until the vehicle has stabilized. Once the initial danger has passed, you can gently slow down and begin to move to the side of the road. If you see that a vehicle suffers a blown tire, it is also wise to remain calm. Reduce your speed, check your mirrors and move away from the struggling vehicle when it's safe.

There are numerous causes for a tire blowout, many of which are preventable. Factors can include:

  • An overloaded vehicle
  • Debris impact damage
  • High-speed impact with a curb or pothole
  • A massive cut that causes rapid air loss
  • A small puncture that causes the tire to lose air over time

Many people assume that tire blowouts are caused by over inflation. It is more common, however, for low pressure to cause the tire to heat up and flex beyond its elastic limits.

If you are driving a vehicle with a blown tire, remain calm and gently steer off the road. If you are sharing the road with a vehicle that has lost a tire, give it a wide berth and keep your wits about you.

Source: Tire Rack, "Driving Through Tire Blowouts." Accessed 9/23/2015.

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