Tire blowouts are bad news for every driver, but did you know they're also a factor in 23,000 road accidents every year, including more than 500 fatalities?
Actually, it's not so much the blowout as what the driver does immediately afterwards that causes most of these accidents.
For instance, slamming on the brakes and trying to steer to the edge of the highway is, in most cases, one of the worst things you could do because you're raising the risk of losing traction - especially dangerous if the road surface is wet.
Instead, the National Safety Council (NSC) says you should grip the steering wheel tightly, take your foot off the gas to let the car slow gradually, and then try to move into the breakdown lane, signaling as appropriate.
When you're totally off the pavement, brake slightly until you stop.
"It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping," says NSC, "even if proceeding to a place of safety means rolling along slowly with the bad tire flapping. You can drive on a flat if you take it easy and avoid sudden moves. Don't worry about damaging the tire. It is probably ruined anyway."
Put on your hazard lights and take care when exiting the vehicle.
If your tire blows out while on the road, it can be a traumatic experience, but the key is not to panic! Just stay calm and follow these tips to ensure your safety...then worry about replacing the tire once you've found a safe place to pull off the highway!