Emergency 6: Tire Blowout
To survive a tire blowout, pretend you're the bad guy in a police chase and you've just run over the cops' spike strips. Push the accelerator (for a moment) and drive straight ahead. The shotgun-blast noise of a tire blowout makes most law-abiding drivers do exactly the wrong thing. They attempt to slow down quickly and get off the road. With a rear-tire failure, any turning at high speed will likely result in a spin and a devastating crash.

When I trained drivers in emergency techniques, hundreds of them correctly handled a tire blowout while I sat in the passenger seat and pressed the detonator to ignite a plastic explosive that blew a gaping hole in the tire. Not one driver lost control. You can be that calm, too.

Pressing the accelerator for an instant will give you time to collect your wits. You'll remember to drive straight down your lane and to stay away from the brake pedal. Allow the car to coast down to slow and then gently pull onto the shoulder. The car will not gain speed no matter how long you press the accelerator. The drag force of a completely flat tire is that potent.

Almost all highway blowouts and tread separations occur on hot days with the car traveling in a straight line at high speed on an underinflated tire or tires. The repeated flexing of an underinflated tire causes the failure. Check your tire pressures and you won't have to deal with blowouts.

by , Contributor at edmunds.com