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Tyre Blowout: What Do You Do?


For anyone who drives for a living, or just drives at weekends, probably the biggest fear while driving is a tyre blowout. Should things go wrong engine-wise, in today’s modern cars, there’s usually a dashboard gauge that moves, or a light that comes on or flashes. Depending on the problem one pulls over as soon as it’s safe to do so, or drives to the nearest garage.

With a blowout, there is often no prior warning, and you have mere seconds to react after the tyre explodes before you hit something or lose control.

Before the journey:

A blowout unfortunately, can happen at any time, and for a variety of reasons. Most of which, are in the hands of the driver. Tyres should be checked regularly, and I don’t mean every year when the car gets serviced. Check the tyres at least monthly, and whenever you’re embarking on a long journey.

Tyres should be checked cold. As the wheels move, the air in the tyres heats and expands, increasing the pressure and improving the seal between tyre and wheel rim. At the same time visually inspect each tyre. Run your hands around each one, check for bulging in the tyre wall, or anything pressing into the tyre rubber, a nail or sharp chippings.

Correct driving position:

With power assisted steering, power assisted braking, it can be easy to become a little too relaxed while driving. It is common to think all you need to do is get up to speed, keep a decent distance between you and the car in front, and settle back. However, this can greatly reduce the time it takes for you to correct a mistake or take evasive action, and within milliseconds you could be hitting the central crash barrier.

Always have a firm, two-handed grip on the steering wheel. The 10 to 2 position is considered the best, although the ¼ to 3 position is popular. A firm grip doesn’t mean so your knuckles go white, but firm enough so a sudden pull to the left or right, caused by a blowout, won’t whip the steering wheel through your hands. At least now you can control the car.

Rear tyre blowout:

In the cars of today, unless you have a heavy load in the boot, or the rear of an estate car, dealing with a rear tyre blowout shouldn’t cause a major problem. The main thing is, don’t panic, stay calm, increase your grip on the wheel, and if the car’s back-end is slewing, gently steer into it. This can be difficult, but if the back end really starts to move out, hit the accelerator to pull it back in – leave the brakes alone. Once back in-line, apply some gentle braking. As your speed drops, so will the slewing. With the car stable, signal your intention and pull over to the hard shoulder.
Front tyre blowout:

While a front wheel blowout will cause more concern, as before, don’t panic, stay calm. Whether the car pulls to the left or right, do not touch the brakes, just ease your foot off the accelerator. With the power steering helping you, keeping the steering straight shouldn’t prove too difficult. Once your arms have got used to the pull, gently start to brake, and pull onto the hard shoulder, or into the kerb.

At Tyres Northampton, we specialise in providing expert service for vehicles of all types, from 4x4s to sports cars. If you are in need of new tyres, whether you want top of the range models from the leading brands, or you’d like a cheaper alternative, we are the people for you. Get in touch with us today to find out more.


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