What To Do if Your Tyre Bursts While Driving

Jack Dreyer | Friday 9th June 2023 10:00am

A tyre has burst while driving, exposing the steel wires of the sidewall.

Having a tyre burst while driving can be a scary experience in the best of cases – in the worst of cases, it can lead to serious injury for all occupants of the vehicle. Thankfully, you can mitigate the potential danger of a tyre burst through proactive learning and regular maintenance.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What to do if a tyre bursts while driving

Before we get into preventative methods, the most important thing to know when dealing with a tyre burst is to not apply the brakes suddenly.

  1. Maintain a firm grip on the steering
  2. Gently apply the brakes
  3. Turn on your hazard lights
  4. Pull over at a safe place

The main danger from a tyre burst is that the driver panics, slams on the brakes, and the car flips over or swerves into oncoming traffic. This happens because applying the brakes applies the brakes to both sides of the car, but if a tyre on one side is no longer able to provide any grip with the road then there will be an imbalance of force.

To help understand why this happens, let’s imagine that the brakes only apply to the front two wheels and that the front right tyre blows. The back of the car essentially pushes forward due to the built-up momentum, but the remaining front left tyre can only resist the momentum on the left side of the car. This then causes the car to fishtail towards the left – swinging the back of the car across the other lane of the road.

Gently applying the brakes allows you to counter steer and maintain balance until you get to a speed that you can safely pull over at.

What to do at a safe place if a tyre has burst

A driver in a white shirt and green shorts is replacing a punctured tyre with their spare wheel.

When you’ve pulled over at a safe place, you need to either swap the tyre out for a spare, or call for roadside assistance. Be very careful here of the steel wires that may be exposed where the tyre’s burst. As they pull apart at the impact they can form razor sharp edges – so it’s very easy to accidentally give yourself a nasty cut!

Preventing tyres from bursting: Regularly check them

Tyres are designed to withstand pretty much anything they’ll encounter on the road – hitting many potholes (even hitting them hard) under normal circumstances usually won’t cause a complete blowout but will instead create a puncture and reasonably quick deflation. This, of course, is much easier to deal with because you can pull over in a safe place and call for assistance or fit a spare tyre.

Short of exceptional impacts, tyre blowouts tend to happen when drivers have significantly overloaded a vehicle or haven’t regularly checked a tyre. This is due to the accumulation of impacts leading to weakened areas of the tyre – usually sidewalls. The more that weakened areas get knocked, the more the rubber gets weaker as it thins, which leads to bulging. It’s crucial, then, to check your tyres as regularly as possible.

Check for nicks, cracks, or bulges anywhere on the tyre, and be sure to regularly check your tyres’ tread depths around the whole length of the tyre’s face. A common place for tyre damage to go undetected is on the inside sidewall of the tyre. So make sure to get regular, dependable servicing so that you can spot problems before they become real problems.

A driver checks their tyre pressure using a dial gauge to ensure it is within the correct bounds.

Check tyre pressure

Tyre pressure is an even easier problem to address. This naturally varies throughout seasons and naturally reduces over time through simple day-night temperature differences – but letting the pressure get too low or, conversely, setting it too high can lead to premature wear, increased fuel consumption, and – in extreme cases – the tyre actually blowing.

Here’s everything you need to know about the effects of tyre pressure.

Upgrade to premium tyres

Another way to help stop tyres from ever bursting is to invest in tyres made by premium brands. The benefits are huge: much better fuel efficiency, much better grip, improved comfort, and significantly reduced wear. Here are the benefits of choosing premium tyres.

Opt for dependable tyre services

The expert technicians at your local Kwik Fit centre are there to ensure your tyres are always in the best condition. If you’ve noticed any damage on any tyre, or just want a check for peace of mind, book an appointment using our online tool!

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Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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