Tyre blowout is a driver’s worst nightmare. How you handle a tyre blowout, especially in December, could be the difference between living to tell the story in the New Year or taking your last breath on the road.
With the holiday season fast approaching, our roads will be packed with fellow Zimbabweans and foreigners traveling to various parts of the country on holiday. Not all vehicles have had a thorough inspection before embarking on long journeys that involve highway speeds and not all drivers are trained to handle high speed emergencies – this raises risk levels in the event of a tyre blowout. The holiday season almost always results in a spike in road carnage and judging from the road accidents in November, it’s vital that drivers are extra careful this holiday season.
Prevention is better than cure is a common phrase when taking about terminal illnesses. Before we get into what to do in the event of a tyre blowout, it’s important that we understand how to prevent a tyre blowout and how to identify it when it happens.
Prevention is quite simple. With the influx of cheaper imports and noname brands of tyres, make sure you buy your quality tyres from a reputable legal tyre business. The tough economic times have resulted in a more dangerous tyre recycling practice where old and worn-out tyres are refurbished by those looking to make a quick return. Regularly check your tyre presure, slow leaks and damage, ideally once a week and most certainly before going on a long trip. Do not overload your vehicle. Sadly over the holidays as drivers look to make an extra dollar, there will be many overloaded vehicles on our roads. As a passenger, you should refuse to travel in an overloaded vehicle because it’s like a loaded gun; a disaster waiting to happen.
Identifying a tyre blowout is quite simple and will likely be accompanied by 2 or 3 distinct sounds. While you are driving, you will hear a loud bang when the tyre blowsout. That may be followed by a whooshing sounds as the air escapes from the tire, and finally a flapping sound as the damaged deflated tyre hits the road and your vehicle. It may even sound similar to the sound you hear when mud stuck to your tyre escapes as you drive off. As you experience these signs you will feel dramatic changes in the handling of your vehicle and the way it responds. It should also start slowing down and might even feel like you are towing 10 houses or a parachute
Now we can take a look at what to do in the event of a tyre blowout:
- The Cardinal rule is DON’T PANIC!!! You will need to take charge of your actions and focus on the road; what you do will determine the final outcome of this unfortunate experience.
- Your passengers may panic; Don’t listen to them! Focus on these instructions
- Keep a firm grip on your vehicle steering wheel through this ordeal. Keep the vehicle in your laneu; don’t turn the steering wheel to the side of the road as that will,at hough speeds, likely result in your vehicle overturning.
- DON’T SLAM ON THE BRAKES. You have to go against your instinct in this case because speaking on the brakes will send the car out of control almost immediately.
- Slowly take your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow down on its own.
- When your vehicle has slowed down to about 40-50km/hr, you can now gently apply breaks to further slow down your vehicle while looking for an opportunity to navigate off the road. Remember to ensure its safe for you to exit your vehicle before you do so.
Please note that this article is for entertainment purposes only and for the most appropriate actions, you should seek the advice of a relevant authority.
If you think a tyre blowout is bad, wait till you read our next article on tread separation; it’s like a Hollywood horror movie. We will give you the tools to handle that as we have done here with tyre blowouts.
Share this article with a loved one in Zimbabwe and let’s protect each other’s lives through awareness. Both drivers and passengers need this information.
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