Tire blowouts are fairly common when it comes to commercial truck driving, as evidenced by the tire debris you can see on virtually any major roadway. Common or not, though, they can still be a scary and potentially dangerous occurrence. While there are steps you can take to avoid blowouts, sometimes they happen anyway. Here’s what to do if you experience a blown tire while driving your commercial vehicle.
- Stay calm and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. While your initial reaction may be to panic – especially if you’re new to driving a commercial vehicle – you’ll be able to respond more appropriately if you keep calm. Sometimes, you may hear or feel a thumping sound prior to a blowout, but other times the tire will blow without warning. When this happens, you may feel the steering wheel vibrate or the truck pull to one side. If a rear tire blows, the truck may wobble a bit too.
- Avoid applying the brakes after a blowout. Doing this can cause you to skid and lose control of the truck.
- Keeping a tight grip on the wheel, ease off the gas pedal so the truck can begin to decelerate. If you need to apply the brakes do so very gently to avoid skidding.
- Steer where you need to go, but avoid sharp turns. Try to slow to a stop with minimal turning if possible.
- Once you’ve stopped, contact the appropriate people. This probably includes your employer or direct supervisor, as well as a service company to come fix the tire.
Unfortunately, tire blowouts are more than likely something you will encounter during a commercial driving career. While this is never fun, the way you handle the situation can have a big impact on the severity of the damage. Use the tips above to (hopefully) keep this damage to a minimum, and remember that regularly checking your tire pressure and performing visual inspections can help prevent blowouts.