What to do in the Event of a Semi Truck Blowout
Tire blowouts are scary and difficult to control, especially for 18-wheelers. Knowing what to do and what not to do in the event of a tire blowout can help prevent total loss of control and can lessen your chances of hurting anyone else on the road.
Safety tips for semi truck tire blowouts
There are a few things you should try to do to maintain control when your tire blows out:
- Take your foot off of the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow down gradually.
- Do not apply full braking. Use soft application of the brakes, natural deceleration and downshifting to bring the vehicle to a safe speed or complete stop.
- Under soft shoulder conditions feather the accelerator to help maintain control of the vehicle while slowing.
- Once the vehicle has been stopped or been brought down to a safe speed, gently steer the vehicle back onto the road surface using a lower gear and/or feathered acceleration to assist in overcoming the surface drop off or soft shoulder.
There are also a few things you should not do when your tire blows out:
- Do not attempt to steer back onto the road surface at speed or under acceleration.
- Do not make any sudden or drastic steering movements.
- Do not apply full braking.
- Do not attempt to accelerate over the surface drop off.
Tire blowouts on an 18-wheeler are common and sometimes unpreventable, but a tire blowout does not always mean loss of control of the vehicle. Understanding a few important facts about rig time blowouts can help you if you ever have to try to maintain control of your truck:
- The laws of physics say that an object going in one direction – such as a tractor trailer on a highway – will keep going in that direction unless it is acted upon by a new force in a different direction.
- When a blow-out occurs or a tire becomes flat, the corner of the vehicle drops, creating a new side force. The strength of the side force depends on factors such as tire-road resistance and vehicle dynamics.
- Unless the driver compensates for the side force, the rig will move in a new direction.