I love me a good road trip. I’ve driven from Alabama to Arizona and logged many more miles on other highway adventures. They’ve all been pleasant journeys free of mechanical issues, but a little luck has been involved.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I noticed a flat tire right after reaching my destination. Thankfully, it didn’t happen on the highway, but I wanted to know what to do in case I ever get a tire blow-out along the way.
Drive Carefully Off the Road
Not just barely–be as far away from lanes of traffic as possible. If dirt is near the highway, take your car off road. Your tire is probably already beyond repair, so driving on it won’t hurt it. And if there is damage to your wheel or other parts of your car, it will be better than what could happen if you are not clear enough off the highway lanes.
Put on Your Emergency Flares
Even if you are well off of the road, leave your emergency flare lights on. This will signal to other drivers to slow down, and it will signal to emergency vehicles that you need help.
Tie Something White to Your Antenna or Part of Your Car
The National Safety Council recommends something white, but probably any brightly colored item will do. This is another signal to others, especially emergency vehicles or anyone that you have called that you need help.
Stand Away From Your Car
Once you have placed all these signals with your car, keep a distance from it. There are other drivers who might not be paying attention and could still drive too fast past your car, or worse, drive into your car. AAA recommends that you never wait inside your car, in front of or behind your car. Stand clear of your car off the road and wait. Unless you have cones and help to block off the road, it is much safer not to attempt to change the tire yourself.
Use the Highway Call Box If It’s Close Enough
Of course, if you have cellular reception, call for help with that. But in the Arizona deserts or other desolate places, you probably won’t have reception. If the call box along the highway is within sight, it is ok to walk to it and get help. If not, just wait. Police patrol the highways regularly, and your emergency flares and other signals will be enough to bring help to you and your car.
These tips will be helpful not just with a fly tire, but any mechanical issue. Drive safely, road warriors!