What to do if you get a blow out or flat tire while driving

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I had the opportunity to do some longer distance driving the last couple of weeks on Ontario’s highways and was reminded of how dangerous they can be if you are broken down at the side of the road. The dangers are particularly high for people who are stranded in the areas with little to no shoulder due to the ongoing construction.

Having a flat tire is never fun, having a blowout while driving can be extremely dangerous, trying to fix a flat at the side of the road can be deadly.

Drivers approaching from the rear at high speeds often lack the sightlines to see you standing beside your car or trying to change your tire. I saw a fellow who was in the live lane of traffic trying to change the tire. He was not wearing any high viz gear, didn’t have flashers on, and was in the line of traffic. He nearly caused an accident in front of me when a car swerved to miss him.

If you ever break down on the 400 series highways and have not way to get out safely from your car you should stay in it with your seatbelt on. Put your flashers on and call 911 for help immediately. If you can pull over on the shoulder and and put your flashers on, if it is safe you can  get out but be sure to move well off the roadway onto the grassy shoulder and call for help. The life you save will be yours and perhaps the other driver as well.

If you have a blow out while driving, you should:

  1. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
  2. Do not slam on the brakes.
  3. Let your car slow down gradually.
  4. Pull to the side of the road once you have slowed to a safe speed.
  5. Activate your emergency flashers.
  6. Call for roadside assistance if you are safe or 911 if you are not.
  7. Do not attempt to change your tire if you cannot do so safely.
  8. If it is safe to exit the vehicle get well off the road and shoulder and wait for help on the grassy shoulder.