Picture this perfect setting:
The sun is shining, you’re doing 73mph on the highway, there’s barely another car in front of you, your rearview mirror is reflecting the most incredible views you’ve ever seen, your girlfriend’s favourite song has just come on the radio, the AC isn’t working but you don’t care because you’ve got the windows down and your full tank of fuel says this is going to be the most amazing road trip you’ve ever had. Then BANG! Thudthudwudwudthudthudwudwud.
Your tire has just blown out. It just burst like a balloon. And you’re doing 73mph. On a highway. And that moment of panic has struck so hard it’s like you’ve been stabbed in the heart with an EpiPen you don’t want or need. What the hell are you meant to do? Like now. Right now. Right this very moment. In this very millisecond, with only three tires behaving like they should as the fourth tries to take you off the road?
Well, read on and you’ll find out exactly what you’re meant to do.
1. Keep That Wheel Straight
It doesn’t matter how much your car tries to drag you left or right, you need to keep your eyes dead ahead and the wheel pointed straight. This isn’t easy because you’ve got one tire that’s blown apart and a car that’s lower on one corner making the entire vehicle unstable. So, whatever you do, don’t make matters worse by trying to steer the car, even if that’s just to the hard shoulder. Keep the sucker straight.
2. Push Your Foot Into The Accelerator
We know that sounds more mental than a Hunter S. Thompson story, but you need to slowly press the gas. The reason for this madcap idea is because your blown tire is going to be heaping so much resistance onto your car that it will feel like you’ve slammed the brakes on, but on just one corner and that can make your car want to turn sharply, maybe even flip. That’s why you gotta press the accelerator. Don’t floor it. Just do whatever it takes to counter the sudden deceleration and regain control of the car.
3. Find The Tire
The next thing you need to do is decipher which tire has blown. Is it a front or back tire, and which side is it on. Once you know this, you can start to anticipate the car’s instability a bit more.
4. Slow Down, Slowly
Once you know which tire it is and you’re traveling in a straight line, you need to bring the car to a stop and you need to do it nice and slowly, which means slowly coming off the accelerator in a smooth motion. Don’t make any rash movements though because your car will still be unstable and so even the slightest twitch can make you lose control.
5. Pull Over When You Can
Once you’re at neighborhood speeds, you need to carefully get to the hard shoulder. Carefully. Not suddenly. Carefully. Once you’ve done this, put your hazards on, get out of your car, stand as far from the highway as possible and call a towing company so that your car isn’t a danger to other drivers.
6. Take a Deep Breath
That experience is scarier than seeing a lion yawn from two-inches away. So take a deep breath, make sure everyone in the car is alright, go and get a can of Sprite to settle your nerves and congratulate yourself for doing a sterling job.