Tire Blowout Tips
What to do if you have a tire blowout—and ways to help prevent one from happening again.
It’s a sound and a sensation no driver wants to hear or feel: the boom of a tire blowout. Then an experience no one likes: an abrupt loss of steering control if the destroyed tire is in the front.
Tire blowouts are more common and more dangerous than you might think. In honor of June’s designation as National Tire Safety Month, here are some important things to know about tire blowouts—and how to handle one if it happens on your drive.
What causes a tire blowout?
Driving on underinflated tires is one of the main causes of blowouts. Here are some steps you can take to keep your tires in good shape and minimize your risk of a blowout.
- Idle check: Check the tires when your car hasn’t been driven for at least several hours.
- Inflate properly: Inflate tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (go by the number inside the driver’s side door, not the number on the tire sidewall). When the air pressure is too low, the tire may flex beyond its limits. This happens more often during the summer when the searing heat—intensified by hot asphalt—can prove punishing for even the newest tires.
- Tread inspection: Closely inspect tire tread for signs of damage or uneven wear that could foretell a risk of failure.
What to do if you have a tire blowout.
About 33,000 tire-related crashes happen annually, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. At least 2,000 of those are blowout-related. AAA recommends you follow these steps:
1. Firmly hold the steering wheel with both hands, maintain speed if safely possible, and slowly release the accelerator.
2. Look in the direction you want the vehicle to go and steer in that direction.
3. Once you have the vehicle under control, continue to slow down and safely pull off the road.
4. Place vehicle in park, turn on your hazard lights and call for help.
Prepare to be road trip-ready.
Making sure your tires are properly inspected and inflated is vital to their longevity, which will save you time and money—and help keep everyone in the vehicle safe. Use a tire gauge to test the air pressure yourself, or visit a trusted mechanic and ask for assistance.