What’s the best course of action if a tire blows at 100km/h on a passenger car?

What's the best course of action if a tire blows at 100km/h on a passenger car?

William's reply.....

Boom! Your front right tire blows and you're hurtling down the highway at 110km/h...

The WORST possible thing you can do it what most drivers would instinctively do: slam on the brakes.

When a tire blows, it introduces a third force to the vehicle's direction of travel, in our scenario, the car's inertia & engine are applying a forward force to the car, friction from the road and air are applying a rearward force to the car, the blow tire is now applying a right angled force to the car. By applying the brakes and reducing the forward force, you are increasing the influence of the right angled force on the vehicle's direction of travel, the car will turn more rapidly to the right, which could put you into a ditch, into another car, or cause your car to spin or flip.

Maintaining control over your direction of travel is paramount for safety. Don't brake, just take your foot off the throttle and allow the vehicle to slow naturally. To counteract the force that is now pulling you to the right, keep a firm and steady hand on the wheel, keeping it straight or apply smooth, light left pressure as necessary. If that is a struggle, apply power.

What???

Yep, it's counter-intuitive, but makes sense: the blown out tire is pulling you to the right, by applying power, you are increasing the force that is pushing the car forward, reducing the influence of the force pulling you to the right. Don't floor it; apply a small amount of throttle, very smoothly. If done correctly, it will keep the car straight, but not cause you to accelerate as you'd need a lot of power to accelerate with the resistance of a blown tire. This works no matter what tire fails or what type of drive train you have, FWD/RWD/AWD.

Balance the coast down/little throttle actions to keep your car under control and bring down your speed. Once you are below 40km/h, you can apply the brake very gently and smoothly to bring the car to a stop. If you feel the car pulling right too quickly, foot off the brake.

The real key is smooth inputs to all the controls, any sudden input could cause the remains of the tire to come off the rim and the car will be much, much more difficult to control.

Notes:

If at all possible, turn on your hazards and use your horn (I'd suggest 3 short blasts then repeat) to signal to any vehicles around you that you're in trouble and you need room. Hopefully, they'd see the smoke from your disintegrating tire, but things happen quickly. Don't sacrifice control to reach for the lights/horn, controlling your direction of travel is the absolute priority.

Bring your car to a stop on the shoulder/emergency pull-off area, do not stop in the lane as you would be a danger to yourself and other motorists obstructing traffic. Most highways have a large enough shoulder that you'd be safe, if you're in a residential/commercial area, pull into a parking lot.

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