Vehicle Flat Tires
Having a flat tire when driving
is always a problem. But experiencing a flat or blowout while traveling on an
interstate highway or other high-speed roadway can present special dangers. The
National Safety Council offers these tips for coping with tire trouble:
At the first sign of tire trouble, grip the steering wheel firmly.
Don't slam on the brakes.
Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas
Work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or, if possible,
toward an exit.
If it is necessary to change lanes, signal your intentions to
drivers behind and do so smoothly and carefully, watching your mirrors and the
traffic around you very closely.
Steer as your vehicle slows down. It is better to roll the car off
the roadway (when you have slowed to 30 miles per hour) and into a safe place
than it is to stop in traffic and risk a rear-end or side collision from other
When all four wheels are off the pavement—brake lightly and
cautiously until you stop.
Turn your emergency flashers on.
It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from
traffic before stopping, 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
Once off the road, put out reflectorized triangles behind your
vehicle to alert other drivers. Keep your emergency flashers on. If you know how
to change a tire, have the equipment and can do it safely without being near
traffic, change the tire as you normally would.
Remember that being safe must take precedence over your schedule
or whatever other concerns you may have. Changing a tire with traffic whizzing
past can be nerve-wracking at best and dangerous at worst. Therefore, it may be
best to get professional help if you have a tire problem or other breakdown on a
Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or
hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators will know that
you need help.
Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle. If possible, stand
away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly.
Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones. If you have a
cell phone you can call right from the roadside. It is inadvisable to walk on a
multi-lane highway. However, if you can see a source of help and are able to
reach it on foot, try the direct approach by walking but keeping as far from
traffic as possible.
These are the most important
things to remember when dealing with a flat tire on the highway:
Don't stop in traffic.
Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before
attempting to change a tire.
Tackle changing a tire only if you can do so without placing
yourself in danger.