It’s possible to go your entire driving career without having to change a flat; you just need to have luck on your side. Maybe you’ll have a blowout near a tire shop, or at least within your roadside-assistance limits. If your phone has service, maybe there’s a friend or family member you can call.
But why risk it when you could be prepared? We’ve put together a Flat Tire 101 for folks who prefer not to be at the mercy of fate and circumstance. Here’s our best advice on how to take matters into your own hands when you hear the telltale “ker-thunka-thunka-thunk” of a tire that’s given up the ghost.
1. Immediately find a safe, level place to pull over.
This may seem obvious, but oftentimes the driver’s first impulse is to tough it out and wait until the next service station. Not a good idea. A car with a flat tire is inherently unbalanced, unpredictable, and generally unsafe. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are at driving, because that flat tire will likely make you even better at crashing. So try to find a reasonably level piece of real estate at lease somewhat removed from passing traffic, and park your vehicle on it as soon as possible. Don’t forget to set the emergency brake and turn on your hazard lights!