Defensive Driving: What to Do If You Get a Flat Tire While Driving

Flat Tire 147039323

This post was originally published on Sep 2nd, 2012 and updated on June 16th, 2020.  

There is nothing worse than a flat tire. Especially at night! Ugh!

Have you heard the ominous “thump thump thump” while driving?  You know that noise means your vehicle is now operating one wheel short of the full set. Getting a flat tire is never much fun, but a blowout while driving at high speed, such as on a highway can be extremely dangerous.

Your safety and that of your passengers and those travelling in vehicles around you depend on your ability to keep calm, think quickly, and carry out the steps below.

What steps should you take immediately after you realize you have a flat tire?

  1. Slow down – Slowly! Do not slam on the brakes. With three tires instead of four you will have reduced traction with the road.  You certainly do not want to make a bad situation worse by causing the car to spin or slide into traffic. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and gently apply the brake.
  2. As you decelerate, steer the car into a safe zone like an adjacent parking lot (if you’re on city streets) or the side of the road (if you’re on the highway).
  3. Know the safety zones. If possible, pull your car off to the RIGHT side of the road, unless crossing multiple lanes of traffic is impossible or unsafe. Once off the road, stop your car as far away from the roadway as possible.
  4. Turn on your flasher lights – especially if you’re unable to get far away from the flow of traffic. This is an immediate alert to other drivers that you are in distress and could mean the difference between getting rear-ended while stopped and avoiding a devastating collision. Popping your hood also sends a similar message.
  5. If you’re able to change the flat tire yourself, only change the tire if you can work safely. Otherwise, call roadside assistance or the non-emergency police number for assistance.
  6. Wait safely. If you’re waiting for help, stand back from the road.
  7. Avoid tires if you can. It’s impossible to completely eliminate the chance of a flat tire, but adding a few items to your car’s inventory while you’re doing routine maintenance can make dealing with one a little easier.
    1. Always carry a spare tire and equipment to help install it, like a jack and lug wrench.
    2. Foam sealants are a cheap quick fix for a flat, but should only be used in emergencies as some tire shops will refuse to repair a tire because sticky residue the sealant leaves behind. Still, in an emergency when you need to get back on the road in a hurry, having foam sealant handy can be a temporary fix.

If you’ve been in an Ontario car accident and need the advice of an accident lawyer, reach out to the experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.  We will provide you with the information you need to make the right decisions about compensation in your case.  Call our law firm today 613 233-4529.

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