Many motorway accidents are caused by high speed punctures and drivers attempting to change a tyre on the hard shoulder. The following should help to safely pull over and change a tyre without significantly increasing your risk of being injured in a road traffic accident.
Dealing with tyre punctures
Tyre blow-outs have a tendency to make cars weave about (rear tyres) or pull heavily to one side (front tyres). Counteract this by firmly holding the steering wheel and gently steering to keep the vehicle in a straight line. Braking is an absolute no-no, as this can add to the car’s sideways movement, causing it to spin and subsequently cause a vehicle collision.
Instead, allow the vehicle to slow down on its own, maintaining the momentum required to minimise the risk of side slides by gently accelerating, then easing off the accelerator. Changing down to a lower gear may also help to slow the vehicle down. This should, however, only be attempted if you have the strength to control the steering wheel with just one hand.
In case of a front tyre puncture, repeatedly pulling the hand brake on and off may also help to slow down. Great care not to lock the back wheels is essential here as this could cause the vehicle to spin and result in a road accident.
Change a tyre safely
Having gained control over the vehicle, continue driving very slowly (with your hazard lights on) until you find a safe place to change a tyre (like a lay-by or service station). If this is not possible and you have to pull over on the hard shoulder, do not attempt to change the tyre yourself, but:
- Pull over as far away from traffic as possible
- Leave the vehicle via the passenger door
- Move passengers well away from the car and traffic
- Call for help
If you do find a safe place, do not:
- Attempt to change the tyre on uneven, soft or loose ground
- Use the jack in positions other than specified jacking points, as this could damage the car and/or cause the jack to collapse
- Work under the car while it is raised up on the jack
Again, it is important to move passengers out of harm’s way.
If you were injured in an accident on the motorway through no fault of your own, give us a call at Accident Advice Helpline to see if you qualify for passenger or driver injury compensation. Our freephone numbers (for mobile and landline calls respectively) are: 0333 500 0993 and 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: December 9, 2015
Author: David Brown