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Tire burst or blowouts

Discussion in 'Safety First!' started by Sat-Chit-ananda, May 28, 2013.

  1. There isn’t a doubt that a tyre blowout ranks the highest on any highway driver’s list of fears. With good reason, as a tyre burst could lead to a complete loss of car control. With SUVs & MUVs, there is the possibility of a flip-over too. A blowout is dangerous no matter how good a driver you are or how safe your car is.

    The good news is, with tyre technology continually improving, blowouts are becoming an infrequent occurrence. Still, they do happen and it's best that you know what to do if you suffer one.

    How to handle a Tyre Burst:

    • Start with maintaining a safe driving speed; there are just no two sides to this. The lower your speed, the higher your chance of survival. A blowout at 80 - 90 kph will be far less dramatic than one at 140 - 150 kph. Indeed, if you survive a tyre burst at 150 kph, consider it a gift of God.

    Do NOT slam on the brake pedal. Of course, this is easier said than done, as our brains are hardwired to instinctively jam the brake pedal in an emergency. Hard braking is actually the worst thing you can do as it will further imbalance the vehicle and throw it out of control.

    • Don’t abruptly take your foot off the accelerator. Do it slowly & gradually. In fact, Michelin recommends that you maintain accelerator input momentarily, before releasing it slowly. The deceleration force from a blown tyre is so strong that your car will anyway slow down rapidly. If you have engaged cruise control, be sure to disengage it immediately.

    • Try your best to keep the vehicle pointed straight. Cornering or turning with a blown tyre will greatly upset the car’s composure. If your car is pulling to one side, you might need to pull the steering in the opposite direction to keep it going straight. This is critical, else you risk drifting into the road divider or worse still, the opposite lane.

    • Do NOT attempt to over-correct. The key is to maintain the vehicle’s stability. A sharp yank of the steering wheel can result in a rollover. Even when you have gained control and are slowly moving to a safe parking spot, do so with the mildest steering inputs possible.

    • Allow the vehicle to gradually coast to a stop. Use engine braking if necessary. Lightly engage the brakes only when your car has decelerated to a slow speed. Use the turn indicators and pull over safely off the road. Drive on the bare metal wheel if you have to, but do NOT stop in the middle of the road as you run the risk of getting rear-ended by a speeding car. Remember to activate your hazard lights when stopped.

    • If your car pulls to the left or right side and the steering has gotten heavier, either of the front tyres has burst. The direction that the car pulls in is the side of the damaged tyre. On the other hand, if your car weaves, a rear tyre has blown. Again, don’t brake. It can lead to your car fishtailing.

    • Always drive with both hands on the steering wheel. It’s difficult to control the car in an emergency situation if you have only one hand on the wheel (and the other holding a coffee cup).

    • Understand that your car will behave very differently with a blown tyre. Effectively, the vehicle now has only 3 contact patches with the road (instead of 4). Any sharp inputs (steering, brake, accelerator) must be avoided.

    • If you drive an SUV or MUV, the probability of a rollover is extremely high. SUVs also have a greater chance of losing stability and steering control. Maintaining a conservative cruising speed is recommended.

    • Rubber parts or a broken wheel could have damaged other components of your car. Have a mechanic thoroughly check your car before fitting the spare wheel and driving away. If the extent of damage is severe, call for a tow truck. Most car manufacturers & expressways offer road side assistance now.

    • The situation worsens if the roads are wet. It’s best to maintain a lower driving speed in the monsoons. On the flip side, the odds of an overheating tyre are also lesser in rain or cold weather.

    • Above all, try to remain as calm as possible. You shouldn't panic and you certainly shouldn't overreact. In most cases, but not always, a tyre burst is accompanied by a blast sound or a loud

    Myth 1: "High tyre pressures are what cause tyre bursts!"

    This is NOT the cause. What causes most bursts is not the air pressure in the tyre, but the excessive flexing of sidewalls due to low inflation pressure. This flexing not only generates heat (via additional friction), but also wears and weakens the tyre - eventually leading to a tyre failure (blowout!). It's better to be 4 psi over recommended pressures than 4 psi under it. Especially when traveling at high speeds or with heavy loads.

    Myth 2: "It's very hot today, so i should fill less air pressure na! (since hot air expands, DUH!)"

    Unfortunately this reasoning is quite popular in India. The truth is that by under-inflating your tyres in hot conditions you are only adding to the sidewall flexing, heat generation and stress that the tyre will have to endure on that already hot day - effectively making it more likely to fail.

    Sevaral of TFi'ens had experienced tire blowouts, please share your experience.
    One I remember is J Ravi's GT3 blowout.
    For source/more detailed reading http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/owning-car/128829-article-how-handle-prevent-tyre-burst-blowout.html

    keep following this link because loads of more information is on the way
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
    19 people like this.
  2. punto_emotion

    punto_emotion Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Sat, good info and a nice start :up Just couple of days back, a Swift Dzire suffered a tyre burst on NH 4 and rammed a truck. Unfortunately, the incident was fatal to the car occupants.
    Sent from Lumia 620 using Board Express
  3. Yes,I saw the pictures in the news,it was terrible. Those cheap tires could take some bodies life doesn't digest well for me but it is a fact.
    When I was shopping for new tires I saw several of Chinese/Korean tires but stayed away from them even though price tag was tempting.
  4. J Ravi

    J Ravi Esperto

    1 person likes this.
  5. platinumshine

    platinumshine Regolare

    I used to be one of the believers of myth#1.

    Couple of instances I have experienced.
    1. Traveling on NH4 at dusk in my WagonR at speed of 90 km/h. On a curve I see a sharp object a broken bulb kind of thing. Right in my path;no chance to miss it. Both left tyres went over it and the rear one bursted. I remember I didn't brake but just took off my foot from A pedal. Slowly stopped to the side. It was scary. I had never known the procedure to come to halt back then just glad I did the right thing.
    2. My relative's Indica. Traveling to Pune from Lonavla on expressway. I was driving it close to 100km/h when I started hearing a repetitive thap-thap sound just like the one in a flour mill made by the belt. I slowed down to 50 immediately. Within no time the tyre bursted. Stopped without a fuss because of lessened speed. Later got to know from my uncle that the front tyre had a crack and was patched from inside; he hadn't gone for a new tyre just coz he had to sell his Indica soon but put our lives at risk. I was furious but sometimes one can't say much to elderlies.

    Hope there are no more such experiences! touchwood!
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  6. Here is how tire burst can even affect planes

    A video example on what to do with tire burst,a must see for every one.

    - - - Merged Post - - -

    We are in the age of tubeless tires where air leakage is gradual for any punctures but imaging how dangerous it can be in those day where people only used to drive on tube tires?
    I had one such scary incident when my rear tire in Wagon R deflated and car started loosing the track luckly there was no one on road and i could bring the car to halt.
  7. theblack

    theblack Esperto

    These things are very very hard to predict unless someone has the money to setup a ultrasonic scanners or electron microscopes and check the tyres for internal fatigues .
    The best way is
    1.) Always maintain correct or slightly more pressure in tyres.
    2.) Depending on the road conditions stay at a manageable speed
    3.) Regularly check for cracks, bulges
    4.) Buy reputed brands (hoping that they do justice )
    5.) Learn how to manage things during a blowout
    6.) Hope it never happens to us
    3 people like this.
  8. Surya

    Surya Superiore

    Namma Bengaluru
    Guys Please make sure to fill your tyres with air in cold condition only, a couple of incidents where a tyre refill after long journey at high speeds resulted in tyre bursts too..
  9. naveen2cool

    naveen2cool Superiore

    Good article, but I kind of feel that I have read this already somewhere else. Oh Ya! Its there in the OTHER forum :D
    2 people like this.
  10. Surya

    Surya Superiore

    Namma Bengaluru
    I have a question does the tyre alone is culprit here, i doubt because the road conditions in India (standards/Materials used/climate) is not the same as other countries, what i can see is as small a car can do easily 120+ with out any issues can we do the same here with the same tyre quality and climate conditions ? May be we have to be careful when buying tyres with proper specs..

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