Driving home last Thursday night in Ottawa, I saw two cars on the side of the road with flat tires. Ugh!
Most of us have heard the ominous “thump thump thump” while driving that means our 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. The safety of you, your passengers and those travelling in vehicles around you depends on your ability to keep calm, think quickly, and carry-out the steps below.
- Slow down – emphasis on the slow. Do not slam on the brakes, as three tires instead of four means reduced traction with the road, and you don’t 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.
- 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).
- Know the safety zones. Always 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.
- 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 sends a similar message.
- If you’re able to change the flat tire yourself, do so only if you can work safely. Otherwise, call roadside assistance or the non-emergency police number for assistance.
- Be safe. If you’re waiting for help, stand back from the road. If you’re in a dangerous neighborhood, you may be safer in your car with the doors locked until aid arrives.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate the possibility 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. Always carry a spare tire and equipment to help install it, like a jack and lug wrench. 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.