Although race car drivers are known for driving their multi-million dollar cars around at blisteringly high speeds, they also have some practical advice that regular drivers can use. When a car experiences a tire blowout, race car drivers do a simple trick that could save your life. They just calmly keep driving in a straight line before slowing down. It sounds simple and obvious, but it’s easier said than done.
What happens after a tire blowout
Obviously, race car drivers aren’t like a regular person. They’re highly trained, highly skilled, and they’re probably just better drivers than almost everyone else. So when a regular person encounters a blowout, it’s a very different experience, mentally speaking, than when a race car driver gets one.
Not many people know what to do in that moment and they’ll panic. They’ll start braking, steering, and do pretty much anything other than what a race car driver would do. This is dangerous as the car is totally out of balance without one of its tires.
Braking, steering, etc, could cause you to lose control of your car. In traffic, especially on a highway, that is simply not safe for both you, your passengers, and everyone else in traffic. On a race track, with the high speeds that everyone is racing at, it’s even more dangerous for everyone involved.
For a professional race car driver however, a blowout is something they’ve probably experienced before and have trained for. Mentally speaking, they’re prepared to handle it the best way possible, but for everyone else, this is the hardest part.
Why it works
Like in a lot of other situations, not panicking is the safest thing to do in the situation. If your car is going in a straight line with a blown-out tire, then other drivers will just treat you normally.
If you panic and you start braking and steering and losing control of your car, obviously, other drivers won’t know how to react and that can cause accidents. By keeping your car straight, you’ll reduce the craziness of the situation and that’ll keep things safer overall.
Even if there aren’t any other drivers, braking and erratic steering can still cause your car to go out of control. You may not hurt anyone else, but you’ll probably hurt yourself and your car at the very least.
That’s because, as Thrillist mentioned, a car with a blown tire is less stable than usual. The blown tire will also cause a lot of friction for your car and that can mess with how a lot of the car’s other systems will function. One of the main systems that’ll suffer from a blowout is, of course, your car’s steering. That’s why it’s not advised to start steering when your tire blows out.
How to apply this simple advice
The first step is of course education. Simply learning about what you should be doing in the scenario of a tire blowout is a good start. Specifically, asides from just staying calm and driving straight, race car drivers will wait until their car slows down enough that they can drive it to a pit stop.
For a regular person, you’ll have to wait until your car’s slow enough that you can stop at a safe place. Again, you don’t want to use your brakes too much. Instead, just let the friction of your car slow it down itself.
That said, this trick is far more mental than not. There’s really not much else that you can do other than to remember what you should be doing. This is very hard, as the natural reaction to a blowout is just to panic.
You may have to rewire your brain entirely to apply this technique. You’ll have to train yourself to be calm in such a stressful situation, but of course, that’s easier said than done.