Tire Blow Out: What do I do now?

Posted on May 29, 2018
Tire Blow Out

By Nikki Allegretti

A not so funny story happened when I was on my way home from my job at Otterstedt Insurance Agency. My tire exploded on Interstate 80. I didn’t feel it, I didn’t hear it, and I didn’t know what to do. I panicked when a truck driver signaled me to pull over because I knew something was wrong.

My rear Driver’s side tire was a little low when I left the office, but I thought I could get to the gas station to fill it up, I was very wrong.

The only thing I knew to do, was to pull over. When the truck driver signaled for me to pull over, there wasn’t a shoulder available, so I panicked. I didn’t know how much time I had before something else went wrong and I wasn’t sure if my initial theory was correct that my tire blew.

Once I finally go to the shoulder, I discovered that my brakes failed. I had slowed down significantly by taking my foot off the accelerator, but the shoulder I had chosen was part of an exit ramp, so I only had so much space to coast to a stop. That’s when I remembered that really important device for this exact situation: the Emergency Brake.

When I came to a stop, I wasn’t sure what to do next. Do I call 911? I didn’t get into an accident so would I need the police there? Did I call my insurance company? I knew that insurance would cover car accidents, but I wasn’t sure if a tire issue was covered. I work for an insurance agency, but I didn’t know if a tire blow out would be covered under a normal policy. I did the only thing I knew to do, I called my parents.

It was my best bet because I didn’t have AAA and I didn’t realize that I had 24 hour Roadside assistance from Hyundai.  In the process of calling, a tow truck from NJDOT arrived to help out. He was able to remove the damaged tire and replace it with my spare. I know how to change a tire, but since I was on an Interstate, and it was the left tire, I didn’t feel comfortable doing it.

So, what do you do if you’re in a similar situation?

  • Don’t Panic:
    • When in an emergency situation, the first thing you need to do is remain calm. There are many instances where an emergency occurs and we, as humans, freeze. It’s a normal occurrence, but it’s important to remember that you are in control and can handle the situation. Luckily for me, I was able to think clearly despite the panic and fear I was experiencing.
  • Pull Over:
    • When something happens to your vehicle on the highway, getting to the shoulder or median should be your main goal. Between cars and trucks speeding by, and the problem with the vehicle, the shoulder is the safest place. It’s important to also remain inside your car with the seat belt fastened as well.
  • Call for Help:
    • If you’re on a highway and your tire blows, it might be dangerous to change the tire yourself, even if you know how to do it. Calling help should be a priority. Whether help is AAA, the Police, your Dealership offered Roadside assistance, or your mom, make sure you contact someone for help. If you’re on the NJ Turnpike, dial #95 for assistance and dial #477 if you’re on the Parkway.

One step you can take to avoid an emergency like this, is to check your tire pressure so that they are neither over, nor underinflated.

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