Published Nov 17, 2014
Getting a flat tire happens to everyone at least once, whether you experience this situation while you are driving to or from your destination or you notice your flat tire before you run errands. Here are a few tips and guidelines you can use to help you when you find yourself in either of these situations.
Getting a Flat Tire While Driving
If you get a flat tire while driving, the first thing you need to do is gently press your brakes to slow down and pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road.
Getting a flat tire never occurs at a good time. If you are in the middle of busy traffic or on the highway, you should not stop your vehicle for any reason. Stopping in the middle of traffic will put you at risk for being involved in an auto accident or sustaining an injury. Make sure you pull over on the right side of the road and remove your vehicle from the highway immediately. By pulling over to the right shoulder of the road, you leave yourself enough room to change your tire or wait in a safe environment until help arrives.
Once you pull over to the right shoulder of the road, turn on your hazard lights so you are visible to other drivers and the helped you called can identify you. To help drivers notice you more, raise the hood of the vehicle. The raised hood of the vehicle is a universal sign of distress.
Having a flat tire at night complicates visibility and the situation overall. It’s difficult to see a person and their vehicle on the side of the road when visibility is poor. For this primary reason, you should always carry a safety flare, flashlight, emergency cell phone, reflective triangle, and a portable warning light with you at all times. If you know how to change a tire, great. If you have no clue how to change a tire, your best bet is to call someone who can help and wait in a safe area. Here are a few tips you can use to keep you and your passengers safe in the event you get a flat tire:
1. At the first sign of a flat tire, firmly grip your steering wheel and check your surroundings. The last thing you want to do is slam on your brakes.
2. Your car will automatically slow down, so there is no need to slam your brakes. Slamming your brakes can cause your vehicle to spin out of control and could cause an accident. Remove your foot from the gas pedal when your tire blows, and your vehicle will gradually decrease speed.
3. Your vehicle will decrease its speed gradually and during this time, you need to steer your car towards the breakdown lane of the highway or street. If you are on the highway, find an exit if you do not see a place come safely to a complete stop on the right shoulder of the road.
4. If your tire blows and you are positioned in the far left lane, use your turn signal to notify other drivers you need
to change lanes. Switching lanes can be a difficult task when you have a flat tire. Frequently check your rear-view and side mirrors to prevent accidents and injuries.
5. Abruptly stopping in the middle of traffic is an awkward and dangerous place to change a tire, so steer your vehicle to a safe place on the road as it gradually comes to a stop. Once your vehicle decreases its speed to 30 miles per hour, carefully park it in a spot that is safe, out of traffic, but still visible to other drivers.
6. Although your vehicle may hold sentimental value in your heart, you should never stand next to or behind your car. While you are waiting for help, stand as far away from your vehicle as possible.
Recycle Your Flat Tire
A flat tire is not useless. Instead of leaving your flat tire on the side of the road or dumping it somewhere, recycle the flat tire. Recycling is one great way to help save the environment. Find a recycling center in your area and call them to ensure they accept tires. Every state has their recycling restrictions. Many recycling centers host a tire amnesty day when they accept tires without associated fees. Recycling a tire any other time of year will result in associated fees.