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Experiencing a blowout when out on the open road can be scary. A rapid loss of tire pressure or blowout can result in a loud, explosive blast that can sound like the engine backfiring. Additionally, the mere shock of that noise can induce a panicked reaction from the driver, putting them in more danger of losing control of their vehicle. How can you avoid this when your tire has a blowout?

You'll have to resist the most natural reaction you could have - slamming on your brake. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this action can be the worst thing you could do in a blowout. Slamming on the brakes will make your already unstable car even less balanced, and it can quickly result in any number of accidents or dangerous situations.
You'll also have to resist immediately taking your foot off the gas pedal. Abruptly releasing pressure on the accelerator causes the vehicle to transfer its weight away from the rear tires and toward the front of the car. No matter which tire blew, this type of weight transfer can result in a loss of control when you're driving with a flat tire.

So what exactly can you do if your tire blows out? The NHTSA suggests the following three steps.

1. Gradually ease your foot off the accelerator. The key emphasis there is on the word "gradually." Again, a quick transfer of weight is not advisable.

2. Correct your steering. This will also need to be done carefully and slowly, but it's essential to maintaining control of your vehicle. Focus on stabilizing your vehicle and preventing it from the kind of erratic behavior and uncontrollable driving that can put you and other drivers in danger. The agency suggests you pick a desired direction and steer towards it.

3. Combine those two steps by gradually slowing your vehicle and steering toward a safe pull-off location. Keep an eye on traffic so you don't find yourself hitting other drivers, and slowly make your way toward the side of the road or any location where it's safe to park. Your hazard lights will come in handy in alerting other drivers to your situation.

The agency reiterates that these steps are applicable regardless of which tire blows out. You may be able to tell which tire blew out depending on how you feel it - front tire blowouts can be felt in the vehicle's steering while rear tire blowouts are felt more in the body or seat of the vehicle. Either way, maintaining a level of calm and control over the situation will give you the best chance of avoiding a dangerous accident or auto insurance claim.
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