Tyre burst – Tire sidewall damage photo
Tyre burst reasons – How to manage Tyre burst accident & 3 steps to save your life?
Defensive driving is for your safety, despite the circumstances surrounding you and the actions of others. Everyone who drives a vehicle must be able to handle the situation of the tyre blast. You’ll know how to handle a worse driving situation created by a front tyre or rear tyre blast once you read this post completely.
Note that I faced a rear tyre burst at a speed of 120 KM and a front tyre burst at a speed of around 50 KM. Article is based on the experience of dealing with both situations. Luckily, I knew very well how to handle the tyre burst situation before the tyre blast I faced.
What is the common reason for tyre burst?
The most common reason for the tyre burst is overload or under inflation. Lack of rotation, worn suspension parts, inflation, over-inflation, wheel imbalance, and misalignment can cause vibration or irregular tyre wear.
So understand the load and the tyre pressure to keep. Typically, every car on the driver door chassis frame will have tire placard which will have tyre pressure required with less load and full load situation. Always try to keep the right load and right tyre pressure mentioned on . Check tyre pressure at least every 30 days. Note that sudden release of air can also create a tyre blowout or burst scenario.
Although the principles mentioned will not offer you a guarantee, it will enlighten you the simple ways of maintaining control over the vehicle by using established physical principles proven effective over years. Following these principles will help you gain controls in most of the scenarios and also applicable to every type of vehicle.
Why avoid under-inflation and over-inflation of tyres?
- In under-inflation situation, too much surface area of the tire touches the road resulting in higher friction besides excessive flexing of tyre sidewalls (called as shoulders of tyre). This causes excessive heat than the normally inflated tyre.
- Excessive heat and stretch on the most vulnerable sidewall of tyre rubber act as a recipe for premature catastrophic failure of the tyre including tyre burst.
- In hot weather during summer under-inflated situation get aggravated and may result in tyre burst.
- It is the understanding that majority of the tyre burst resulted by the under-inflation and high speed.
- Under-inflation also increases fuel consumption and instability while breaking.
Sidewall damage image courtesy – www.yokohamatire.ph
- Over inflation typically happens either or combination of long travel at high speed in hot weather which causes air to expand or when tyre inflated with higher tyre pressure than the recommended pressure by the car manufacture.
- Over inflation reduces the amount of tyre in contact with road, making it dangerous. And it causes excessive wear in the tyre’s center portion. The over inflated tyres do not absorb shock since they cannot flex as much. As a result, the ride becomes harder and they transfer all the shock to the suspension causing premature suspension wear.
- Over-inflation can also lead to the sidewall of the tyre getting damaged when you hit a bump at high speeds.
- Chances of tyre burst due to little excessive pressure is believed to be lower as typically the burst pressure of the tyre will be many times more than the regular tyre pressure recommended by car manufacturer. However, do not over-inflate the tyre as we cannot rule out the burst when over-inflated as air gets expanded and increase the pressure inside the tyre when heated.
- Also note that minor improvement in mileage & acceleration may be there because of lower contact with road but the issue mentioned above outweighs this minor mileage advantage. So do not over inflate.
What happens when a tyre burst happens and how can we control the vehicle in such a situation?
The corner of the vehicle with damaged tyre will create a side force. This will cause vehicle direction getting altered to the resultant direction when side force prevents the vehicle moving in the forward direction. To ensure that vehicle is not moving to a different direction and become uncontrollable when car continue roll on with deflated tyre, the driver must compensate quickly to reduce the impact of this new side force.
What driver should do immediately when a tyre burst occurs?
- Do NOT apply BREAK or STOP giving acceleration.– MUST AVOID
- Step on accelerator. – MUST DO
- Steer the vehicle in most appropriate direction. Do not attempt to over-correct the direction. – MUST DO
- Once vehicle in control, steer safely to side of the road and stop – MUST DO
Why no breaking or stop acceleration during a tyre burst accident ?
- If you do breaking, that is the worst thing you can do.
- Taking your foot off the accelerator is the second worst thing you can do.
- If you break, you lose control. Although breaking will be your instinctive reaction to a burst tyre, avoid it at any cost, because the loss of support for the burst tyre will exaggerate the impact of the vehicle going in the wrong side of the road losing all control.
- Rapid air loss creates a new side-force unless the driver compensates for this side-force by moving the car in a new direction. When your tyre blows out, your car will pull in the direction of the damaged tyre. Keep your steering wheel firmly, therefore, and use both your hands to steer the vehicle in the right direction.
Nature's basic law state that an object going in one direction such as a car on a highway will keep moving in that direction unless it is acted upon by a new force in a different direction.
How to control the vehicle when a tyre blast occurs?
- Real solution is to stepping on the accelerator to power to the drive wheels and is the best solution when a vehicle is getting pulled to the side by a tyre blast. By stepping on accelerator driver compensates and he can bring back to right direction by making a steering correction. Because acceleration give the power to good drive wheels to balance the load and support when you in steering to correct the movement of the vehicle to require direction.
- This is a similar situation when you drive in cross winds or on some high-curved roads all you need to do is a step on accelerator and correct using the steering wheel. Once vehicles come in control, you can safely stop the car on the desired place. If you step on brakes after an air loss situation, you lose the forward force that allows you to maintain control. The car suddenly becomes much more vulnerable to side force without the forward force you will be much less able to control the vehicle.
Any difference in your feeling when front or rear tyre burst accident occurs?
- The key difference lie in the way they feel to the driver and what effect they have an on behavior of the vehicle.
- In the rear tyre burst situation, driver still has good steering tires at front. So when accelerator applied, the effort required to correct the direction of the vehicle after tyre blast bill be much LESS than FRONT tyre burst situation.
- So in front tyre burst situation, you lost one of the good steering tyre. So when accelerator applied, the effort required to correct the direction of the vehicle after tyre blast bill be much MORE than REAR tyre burst situation.
Front tyre or Rear tyre burst – What is the difference in controlling the vehicle?
Driver to handle both front and rear tyre blast situation in the same way. In both front or rear air loss situation never apply break and give accelerator followed by necessary steering correction as necessary. If you react properly as mentioned above you can still maintain control as mentioned. Note that no significant increase of speed involved and once you stabilize the vehicle you can drive till safe to stop. These rules applicable to any weather, any kind of road or even in a curve. Just step on accelerator and steer as necessary.
In summary, controlling the rear tyre air loss situation call for same driving technique as front tyre situation with one important difference when rear tyre burst, the driver still have good steering tires. So power the drive wheel by accelerator and do the steering correction as necessary to maintain the control of the vehicle. Then driver can choose when and where to slow down and pull off to the side of the road.
What will be your feeling on the steering when a tyre burst happens?
Front tyre burst situation – If the problem is on front tyre, you will feel it through your hands on the steering wheel. Excessive load will on the hand and steering will turn towards the tyre lost the air. You will need to apply a lot of force to make steering correction.
Rear tyre blast situation – The load felt on the hand will be much higher than normal running situation but lower than the front tyre blast situation.A rear tyre problem affects the ride so you are ALSO likely to feel it through the seat.
Whichever tyre creates the issue, maintain the control as mentioned above, importantly NO BREAKING and only ACCELERATION and STEERING CORRECTION to move vehicle to right direction.
How to can the excessive load on hands when a tyre blast (front or rear) happens?
Never drive the car with a single hand or fingertips. Ensure that you do not have your kids seated or anything else kept in driving seat while you drive.
Ensure that you always hold the steering wheel with two hands following the technique called as 9 and 3. That is place your left hand on the left portion of the steering wheel in a location approximate to where the “9” would be if the wheel was a clock. We should place your right hand on the right portion of the wheel where the “3” would be located.
9 and 3 technique considering the airbag and also ensure that both hands can ergonomically turn to left or right using push and pull method. Refer below video for 9 and 3 technique with push & pull method.
What are the must DO’s when you drive?
- Seat belts are vitally important as they allow you to maintain stability in the seat.
- Proper placement of hands and arms while driving is also important as there will be a heavy load on the steering and you need two hands to handle the load and steer the vehicle in the right direction.
- Avoid driving a speed more than 100 KMs in highway. Typical Indian highways are also having the speed limit of 100 KMs. If you go above this speed and a tyre burst happens (especially the front tyre), it will be challenging to bring the vehicle under control.
- Stay closer to center lane in case of 3-way road (i.e. 6 lane highway) and stay closer to the center divider line in case of two way road (i.e. 4 lane highway). This is because in case of a tyre burst, there is some space for you to do the steering correction and manoeuvre the car back on track. If you ride closer to the divider line, in burst situation the car may hit the divider immediately and jump over the divider to the opposite lane causing the hit by vehicles passing in opposite direction. (In addition to this benefit, it may also helpful to manage if someone or animal suddenly enter the highway from the divider of the highway.)
- When you hear or feel or see something wrong, maintain control of the vehicle first and then look for the cause of the problem.
- Overloading car with luggage or people will do the “under inflation” situation to car tyre and result in damage of the sidewalls of tyre resulting up to a tyre burst accident.
What are the key points to know of the tyre care to avoid a tyre burst accident ?
Must Do checks for tyre safety
- Make sure tyres are less than 10 years old, even if they have low miles (because old rubber gets brittle and has a greater tendency to crack).
- Goodyear suggests checking your tire tread depth for every 5000 KMs. Check the tread wear indicator through simple steps mentioned by your tyre manufacturer’s website or product guide. Decide on tyre replacement based on the result.
- Check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure your tires aren’t under-inflated.
- Rotate your tyres according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations or at maximum intervals of 10,000 km.
- Maintain vehicle suspension and wheel alignment & balance. Any issue with this cause one side (mostly) wear of one or more tyres.
- Frequent (at least once a month) inspection of your tyres for signs of damage and their general condition is important for safety.
- Check that your each tyre do not have tread wear on a tire’s outside edges (caused by under inflation) OR wear at center tread (caused by over inflation). If yes, check the tyre with a professional to ensure safety.
Good to know about tyre care for safety
- Over-inflation causes relatively lower level of tire burst. Generally a car tyre is inflated to around 35 PSI (pounds per square inch). Under hot weather and highway conditions, the temperature of the air inside the tire rises about 50 degrees. That increases the pressure inside the tire about 5 psi. You may take as 10 to 15% of the pressure (PSI) increase with a temperature of 50 degrees. The tyre burst pressure is around 200 psi. So unless you had your tires increased up to 195 psi, you didn’t come anywhere near bursting the tire from too much internal pressure. As per Good Year tyres, for every 10 degrees of increased temperature inside tyre, it will expect tyre pressure to increase automatically by 1-2 PSI pressure. So if you filled 35 PSI in normal temperature (means car did not run over 5 KMs when filling air or nitrogen in the tyre) and temperature inside tyre increased to 50 degrees, then 5 to 10 PSI increase expected.
- Tyre to fill with Air or Nitrogen? – Use Nitrogen in tyre to improve the tyre life and gain the benefits listed below.
- Nitrogen molecules are bigger and difficult to leak through tyre than oxygen (air) molecules. This means that your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term.
- Air will have water vapor or humidity which result in oxidation of tyre rubber causing it to become stiffer and form cracks. But Nitrogen is drier and thus this problem will not happen.
- Pressure of water vapor in Air will vary with temperature. This cause increase in pressure inside tyre when temperature increases due to climate, speed, friction etc. But nitrogen is dry, making it more stable than standard air filled in tyre. In case of nitrogen, pressure change due to change in temperature will be much lower.
If your tubeless tyre’s got a big hole or its sidewall suffers substantial damage, a tyre puncture repair will not help. Strict no to use patches in case your tubeless tyre suffers big hole or damage to side wall. In that can replace the tyre as safety is first.
We should use puncture plugs for puncture repair when nail hole to be fixed and the nail hole in the ‘crown’ area of the tire, from the center line of the tread extending out to one inch from both shoulders (side wall of the tyre).
- Never mix different tyres and also not recommended to fit tyres with different speed ratings.
- Replace front tyres together. Same thing recommended for rear tyres too.
- Never overload and follow car manufacturer’s recommendation for load and tyre types for replacement.
Thank you for reading. Wish you a safe driving.
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Also I would recommend you to read my article about food safe allergy free cookware.