Imagine a situation where you are driving at 100 kmph on a fast moving highway and suddenly you hear a loud thump. No, nobody hit you from behind, but it's the sound your tyre bursting into pieces, a nightmare for any highway driver. A tyre blowout is one of the scariest and most accident-prone form of failure in your car and we hope it doesn't happen to any of you.
But what if it happens? A sudden tyre burst could lead to a complete loss of car control and tall vehicles like SUVs and MUVs face even more problem as there is a possibility of flip-over. No matter how good a driver you are, it can happen to the best of us. Here's a couple of ways which can reduce the damage in case of a tyre burst, for we can't stop a burst, but we can surely control the damage.
Tips to handle the situation in case of sudden tyre burst-
1. Avoid fast-speed driving
While this is no solution to control the tyre burst, it doesn't cost a dime to keep your basics in check. The higher the speed of the car, more are the chances of loosing control of the car. And lower the speed, more are the chances of your survival. A simple calculation involving physics and mathematics will tell you that a blowout at 80–90 kmph is far less dramatic than one at 140–150 kmph.
2. Avoid harsh braking
This one is easier said than done, but a panic braking can make the situation worse. Our brain is programmed in a manner that we slam the brakes as hard as possible in case of an emergency. While the technology today is helping save us from the ill-effects of hard braking, the car can further imbalance and lose control if you slam your brakes real hard.
3. Let go the accelerator gradually
Like in the case of panic braking, abruptly taking the foot-off the accelerator won't help you either. The deceleration force in case of a blown tyre is so strong that your car will come to a rapid stop and the momentum will throw the car away. If you take the foot-off the accelerator pedal immediately, it will only add to the momentum thing. In fact, Michelin, the leading tyre manufacturer recommends to maintain the speed momentarily, before releasing it slowly.
4. Keep your vehicle pointed straight
In case of a tyre burst, the balance of the car shifts dramatically towards the side of side burst (most of the time). If your car is pulling you towards one side, pull the steering in the opposite direction to avoid drifting towards the divider or the opposite lane. The more the pressure you will put on the steering, more it will try to maintain a straight line, reducing the damage drastically.
5. Do not attempt to over-correct.
While the above mentioned point indicates to control the balance of the car, it is advisable not to go over-the-top with it. The key is to maintain the vehicle’s stability and any attempt to over-correct the steering wheel can result in a rollover. The idea is not to panic and give a quick yank to the steering in the opposite direction. Even if you have gained control, mildly control the steering and move to a safe parking space.
6. Gradually coast to a stop
Last but not the least are the steps to stop the car in a safe spot. Downshift the gear to use the engine braking lightly engage the brakes, if you have regained the control of the car. Use the indicators and pull over to the side of the road as stopping in the middle of the road may get your car rear-ended by a speeding car. Remember to activate your hazard lights when stopped.