Ogle County Highway Department
and Safe Driving Tips
to Do if You Have a Blowout on the Highway
What to Do if You Have a Blowout on the Highway
Having a flat tire when driving is always a problem. But
experiencing a flat or blowout while traveling on an interstate
highway or other high-speed roadway can present special dangers. The
National Safety Council offers these tips for coping with tire
- At the first sign of tire trouble, grip the steering wheel
- Don't slam on the brakes.
- Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas
- Work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or, if possible,
toward an exit.
- If it is necessary to change lanes, signal your intentions to
drivers behind and do so smoothly and carefully, watching your
mirrors and the traffic around you very closely.
- Steer as your vehicle slows down. It is better to roll the car
off the roadway (when you have slowed to 30 miles per hour) and
into a safe place than it is to stop in traffic and risk a
rear-end or side collision from other vehicles.
- When all four wheels are off the pavementóbrake lightly and
cautiously until you stop.
- Turn your emergency flashers on.
- It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away
from traffic before stopping, even if proceeding to a place of
safety means rolling along slowly with the bad tire flapping. You
can drive on a flat if you take it easy and avoid sudden moves.
Don't worry about damaging the tire. It is probably ruined anyway.
- Once off the road, put out reflectorized triangles behind your
vehicle to alert other drivers. Keep your emergency flashers on.
If you know how to change a tire, have the equipment and can do it
safely without being near traffic, change the tire as you normally
- Remember that being safe must take precedence over your schedule
or whatever other concerns you may have. Changing a tire with
traffic whizzing past can be nerve-wracking at best and dangerous
at worst. Therefore, it may be best to get professional help if
you have a tire problem or other breakdown on a multi-lane
- Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or
hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators
will know that you need help.
- Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle. If possible, stand
away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
- All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly.
Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones.
If you have a cell phone you can call right from the roadside. It
is inadvisable to walk on a multi-lane highway. However, if you
can see a source of help and are able to reach it on foot, try the
direct approach by walking but keeping as far from traffic as
These are the most important things to remember when dealing with a
flat tire on the highway:
- Don't stop in traffic.
- Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before
attempting to change a tire.
- Tackle changing a tire only if you can do so without placing
yourself in danger.
- Finally, the Council recommends that you have a qualified
mechanic check your vehicle after having a flat tire to be sure
there is no residual damage from the bad tire or the aftermath of
Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety Council, a
membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting