As the warm weather approaches, Ontarians start to eagerly plan their weekend road trips. The last thing on our minds is the thought of a tire blowing out, although it’s one of the most common issues drivers face on the road — and a frightening one at that. When a tire blowout occurs, there’s a loud bang and the driver usually loses control of the vehicle. That’s why it’s important to check your vehicle’s tire quality before heading out. Here, we break down the causes of tire blowouts, how to decrease the chance of it happening to you and what to do in case it does.
Causes of Tire Blowouts
Tire blowouts are caused by a large amount of air leaving the tire in an instant. Simply, your tire pops as a result of a tire malfunction. Some of the leading causes of tire blowouts include:
- old or worn tires
- degraded rubber from heat and friction
- driving over debris such as wood or glass
How Can I Reduce the Risk of a Tire Blowout?
Monitor your tires’ air pressure
Every month, check the air pressure in your tires. As the weather changes from winter to summer and vice versa, tire air pressure changes too. Having optimal air pressure in your tires ensures that you’re getting the best mileage and proper use of your tires. All vehicles require a different amount of pressure, which you can look up in your owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s door.
Inspect your tires regularly
When inspecting your tires, you should be aware of a few things. The first one is tread. An easy way to check whether your tires have the proper amount of tread is to place a toonie (a $2 coin) in between the tread. If the tread ends at the coin’s bear paws, your tires are close to new. If the tread covers the coin’s silver, your tires are about 50% worn but are still in good condition. Lastly, if your tread stops in the middle of the coin’s letters, then it’s time to start thinking about new tires.
You’ll also want to look for any cracks or punctures in your tires. If you find some, it’s best to replace your tires as soon as possible.
What to Do If Your Tire Blows Out?
Between May and October, there’s a higher chance of tire blowouts because of the increase in temperature. If you experience a tire blow out, never panic. Remember this action plan:
Stay calm and put your four-way flashers (hazard lights) on. Don’t brake, lightly step on the gas and steer straight. Once your vehicle has slowed down to under 40 km/h, tap on the breaks and guide your vehicle to a safe area to stop. After you’ve safely stopped, call a towing company to get your car to a mechanic to repair the tire.
Overall, tires can withstand a lot, but it’s still important to check your tires regularly to ensure that you’re driving safely. By taking these precautions and understanding what to do in case of an emergency, you can confidently enjoy all your road trips.
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