It’s one of RVers’ biggest fears: a tire blowout. Here’s what to do if you have an RV tire blowout while driving, and how to prevent it…
Many RVers share a common fear: an RV tire blowout. We’ve all heard the horror stories of RVers losing control of their RV when a tire blows. We’ve seen the scary images of flipped RVs and shredded motorhomes.
But you shouldn’t be scared. You should just be prepared and know what to do if your tire blows while driving.
We’re going to walk you through what to do in the moment, and how to prevent it in the first place. IMPORTANT: what you should do is counterintuitive. So, please read!
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A Must-Watch Safety Video
This video was made by Michelin North America and The Nevada Automotive Test Center. By the looks of it, they made it in the early 1990s, but the information and SCIENCE behind it still stand.
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU WATCH THIS VIDEO!
This video teaches you the principles behind a blowout and how you should react accordingly. You’ll learn that rapidly losing tire pressure DOES NOT automatically mean losing control.
How to Handle a Tire Blowout in Your RV
As the man in the video says, we are not here to offer you a guarantee. There is no foolproof way to maintain control in every circumstance.
However, we are going to share “simple ways of maintaining control of a vehicle by using established physical principles that have proven effective over the years if used quickly and properly.”
So, while we can’t guarantee it, the following techniques will give you the best chance to maintain control of your RV if a tire blows. Allstate recommends the same techniques as the above video and the following steps.
(By the way, the principles are the same for every type of vehicle, loaded or empty.)
1. Do Not Brake!
Whatever you do, do not hit the brake pedal! That’s one of the surest ways to lose control.
2. Do Not Take Your Foot Off the Gas Pedal!
If you ask drivers what to do when your tire blows, most will say to take your foot off the gas pedal. THAT IS NOT CORRECT!
Keep your foot where it is and immediately do the next step…
Yes, accelerate. It may seem counterintuitive, but accelerating counteracts the sideways pull your RV experiences during a tire blowout.
Put simply, accelerating forces your RV to stay straight. (The above video shows you the physics behind this.)
4. Correct Steering as Necessary
To offset the initial force of the blow and sideways pull, you’ll likely need to correct the steering to keep going straight. The key is doing the smallest steering adjustments possible.
Do not overcorrect by whipping the wheel in the opposite direction of the pull. Try to make a series of small movements that help you maintain control. (See how the driver adjusts his steering in the video.)
Think of balancing a ball on the board. With small adjustments, you can keep the ball on the board. But any big, jerking movements send the ball flying off the board. In the same way, small adjustments will keep your RV on the road.
5. Choose When & Where to Slow Down & Pull Over
Once you have successfully maintained control of the vehicle, THEN it’s time to slow down and pull over. Again, do not hit the brakes or take your foot off the gas pedal!
Once you see a safe place to pull over, gradually release pressure on the gas pedal. Correct the steering as necessary as you slow down, and gently steer it to your safe spot on the side of the road.
If you start to lose control again, accelerate. Regain control, and release the pressure from the gas pedal even more gradually.
If possible, coast to a stop. Only press the brakes (gently!) if absolutely necessary and only once you have slowed enough to feel like you’re in complete control.
6. Turn on Emergency Lights & Proceed with Caution
Once you are safely on the side of the road, turn on your emergency lights. If it’s safe to exit the vehicle, get out your roadside emergency kit and place orange warning triangles or the equivalent behind your RV.
Assess whether it’s safe to change the tire yourself or contact roadside assistance. Be sure to check the wheel well and undercarriage for any damage.
Summed Up Step-by-Step
- Do NOT brake.
- Do NOT take your foot off the gas pedal.
- Correct steering with the smallest adjustments possible.
- Identify a safe place to pull over.
- Gradually release pressure on the gas pedal.
- Gently steer to the safe spot on the side of the road.
- Coast to a stop.
- Turn on emergency lights.
- Proceed with caution, only exiting if safe.
IMPORTANT: Practice Reacting to a Tire Blowout
I know what you’re thinking. How do you practice reacting to a tire blowout? The answer is visualization!
You should visualize what you will do if a tire blows out on you. And I don’t just mean to think about it. I mean visualize the sound, the feelings, and every step of your response. Even visualize the yelp your passenger emits when the tire blows!
Visualizing is the only realistic way to prepare yourself for a tire blowout. Studies with athletes have shown that imagining the full picture of a scene is nearly just as good as actually practicing.
This is important when it comes to tire blowouts because accelerating is counterintuitive. So, you need to overcome the natural reflex to hit the brakes or take your foot off the gas pedal.
Practice (visualize) accelerating and going through all of the steps. Otherwise, you might react badly even if you know the proper way to react! You might reflexively hit the brake or take your foot off the pedal.
How to Prevent a Tire Blowout
Proper tire maintenance is crucial! We have a few articles to help, and we strongly recommend reading all of them.
- The danger of underinflated RV Tires
- When to Replace RV Tires (Advice from Real RVers)
- RV Tire Sizes & Basics Every RVer Should Know
- Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!)
We hope all of this information helps keep you safe!
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