Sometimes, a flat tire is unmistakable, and you know that something is wrong immediately. Other times, you might overlook the issue due to a slow leak. But what do you do when you realize you’ve got a flat tire while you’re on the road? Should you pull over right away, or should you keep driving until you can get home or to the nearest mechanic shop?
Let’s discuss the safest practices for managing a flat tire. Here’s what you need to know:
If you ever get into this situation, you’ll likely wonder, “How far can I drive with a flat tire?” The short answer is about 1.4 miles, but anything over might damage the rims, fenders, wheels, the brake system, and other parts.
How to Manage Driving with a Flat Tire Safely
Perhaps you’ve noticed your tire pressure is low, but it’s decreasing at a slow rate. It means you probably have a slow leak, and it’s best to stay off the road. Even if your tire doesn’t look flat, your tire will lose air faster once your car is in motion.
On the road, you might encounter debris, nails, and even dips in the road that can puncture your tire. If this should happen to you, here are the best steps to take:
1. Slow Down
Don’t slow down to a crawl as this might cause someone to rear-end you, but maintain a speed between 20 and 35 mph depending on the type of road (residential, city, highway, etc.). It’s best to put your hazard lights on to alert other drivers that something is wrong so that they can give you plenty of space on the road.
2. Pull Over
Always pull over instead of trying to make it home or to a mechanic. Many times when someone has a flat tire, they try to make it as far as they can before pulling over, and this often causes multiple car accidents. If you’re on the interstate, it’s best to try to get off to avoid the dangers of traffic. It will ensure that you and other drivers do not have a collision.
Practice safety first and pull over to the shoulder of the road at a decreased speed while keeping your hazard lights on to maintain visibility to other drivers.
3. Call for Assistance
If you have a spare tire and can change it yourself, that’s great! If you change the tire yourself, always be mindful of traffic before attempting this.
If you do not have a spare tire or aren’t confident you can change the tire yourself, call someone to assist you. You may want to call for an emergency vehicle to transport your car to a mechanic who can service your car.
How to Avoid Flat Tires
Some things are not avoidable, to be sure. We all drive over debris and unintentionally run over deep potholes in the road that might cause a puncture wound in our tires. However, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of a flat.
1. Know Your Tires
Keep a watch on your tires to ensure that they don’t have foreign objects in them. Nails are hard to see in tires sometimes if they get embedded deep in the rubber, so be mindful to check your wheels every so often. Also, check the tire pressure regularly and increase it as needed.
2. Drive Cautiously Through Construction Zones and on Rough Roads
One of the leading causes of flat tires has to do with driving speed. When you’re going through a construction zone, reduced speeds ensure your safety and the safety of the construction workers.
Be mindful of your speed as well on rough roads that might have potholes and rocks that would puncture your tires.
3. Purchase Good Tires
High-quality tires are the best way to ensure that you don’t have to keep buying new ones. Good tires will have a better tread grip, and they will be more durable. For long-lasting results, choose high-quality tires to ensure your safety and your car’s optimal condition.
Getting a flat tire is never a fun experience. However, with the proper knowledge and preparation, you don’t have to fret or overthink, “How far can I drive with a flat tire?” Now you know the best steps to take!
Being well-prepared is everything. We hope this guide has provided you with the tips you need to feel confident in a flat tire situation.
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