A significant number of motor vehicle accidents can be attributed to driver errors like distractions, speeding, reckless driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, many collisions are caused by mechanical failures. In the past, media attention has been given to brake failure, electronic glitches, sudden unintended acceleration and tire blowouts. Many people don’t know what can cause a tire blowout or how to control a vehicle when a tire fails.
What can cause a blowout?
While it is certainly a more common occurrence over the summer months, a tire blowout can happen at any time of the year. Some of the more common causes for tire blowouts can include:
- Underinflating the tire
- Overloading the vehicle
- Damage from driving over potholes
- Damage accumulation/tires that are worn over time
Excessive heat during the summer months can amplify these issues. It is not uncommon, however, for damage to actually occur weeks or months before the tire blowout.
Can a vehicle be controlled after a blowout?
There are very few situations that shock an experienced driver. Unfortunately, drivers on the road operate their vehicles with a broad range of experience. At any given time, there might be two drivers right next to each other – one who just received a license and one who has been driving for more than 40 years.
Generally, there are two pieces of information about what drivers should NOT do when they feel that a tire has blown out:
- Do not stamp on the brakes.
- Do not aggressively turn the steering wheel to get to the shoulder.
Either of these options can cause a loss of control and lead to collisions with numerous vehicles. Professional and experienced drivers tend toward two bits of wisdom:
- Take your foot off the gas. This allows the natural drag of the blown-out tire to slow the vehicle. When you reach a safe, slower speed – 30 mph or slower – drivers should gently start steering the vehicle to a safe distance off the road.
- Press the gas pedal for an instant. It might seem counterintuitive, and run contrary to the first bit of advice, but advanced drivers are encouraged to press the gas pedal even slightly to stabilize the vehicle. This also serves to “lock” the brain from completing dangerous activities such as aggressively pressing the brake or dramatically steering into the shoulder. By concentrating on stabilizing the vehicle before anything else, a driver is more likely to control the vehicle.
Most importantly – remain calm. Drastic moves can cause dangerous situations on a busy road. If you or a loved one was in an accident caused by a vehicle’s mechanical failure, it is crucial that you discuss your case with a personal injury attorney.