In recent news, not far from Saint Petersburg, reports that the wonderful champion sprinter from the University of Georgia has been killed in an accident. The collision occurred very early Monday morning on I-75. Reports indicate that Torrin Lawrence was traveling to his home in Jacksonville, FL when a tire blew on his car. The car sat, disabled, in the middle of the lane when struck by a tractor trailer. This resulted in the athlete being tossed from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene and now his family, friends, and fellow teammates are left with only the memories of his life and achievements.
Lawrence has undoubtedly proven himself as an athlete, capturing SEC and NCAA titles while competing at the college level. He holds three school records and has been referred to as among the world’s greatest indoor 300- and 400-meter runners. The trouble is that an athletic build and a promising future are not enough to protect a person in an car accident.
This story points to the true danger that exists when a tire blows out on a highway. It is not, generally, the initial failing of the tire that causes the person harm or delivers a fatal blow. Instead, it is a secondary accident that results in people being hurt. When the driver panics and causes the vehicle to lose control, spin out, or rollover, that’s one scenario. The other was seen in this very tragic, real life example; the car is not far enough from the flow of traffic when brought to a stop and a collision occurs.
It is very important, as a driver, to know what to do if a tire fails. You never know when it is going to happen and the last thing that you want is to find yourself on I-275 in St. Petersburg when one of your tires blows up and you don’t know what to do. That’s when panic comes into play.
Don’t React Without Forethought. It can be horribly terrifying to experience a high speed tire blowout. It emits a ridiculously loud noise when it bursts and can wretch the car in one direction or another causing a very difficult ride before stopping. One’s instinct is to slam on the brake and swerve. That is the worst thing that you can do. You have to overcome instinct and just keep moving. Often the best thing that you can do is not to do anything at all. Just keep calm, move straight down the lane until you can safely get to the side of the road. The experts recommend allowing drag to slow the vehicle slowly, rather than hitting the brakes. There will be a great deal of friction caused by the bare rim on the road, so the car will slow relatively quickly.
Hit the Gas Instead of the Brake. Instead of hitting the brake, it is a good idea to accelerate for a moment. Well, that is to say, you should press the gas pedal. The car will be dragging so much that it won’t actually accelerate, but that action can help you regain full control of the steering and will keep you from pressing the brake and turning the wheel. Just get the car stabilized and then you can take action when it is safe to do so.
Do Not Turn Immediately. Do not jerk the wheel! Wait until the car has slowed to a comfortable speed and there is a gap in traffic, then slowly navigate to the side of the road and out of danger’s way. If it is a rear tire that has blown, and you swerve too quickly, you will very likely spin out. If you leave the pavement in doing so, the chances of rolling over are substantial.
Alert Other Drivers, Act Slowly. Turn on the four-way flashers, allow the car to naturally slow and look for a break in traffic that will allow you to get out of the danger zone.
Consult an Attorney and Insurance Companies. Tire failure can be a result of improper maintenance or a design flaw. Once safe, it is a good idea to call a personal injury attorney and then the insurance company to learn more about your rights to compensation for any damages caused that weren’t your fault.