One of the most common issues you will experience with a car is getting a flat tire. This can happen anywhere for any reason — from debris in the road to a tire just getting old, you will experience at least one flat tire in your life. When that happens, there are some steps you should take to stay safe while changing the tire according to some car accident attorneys with our friends at Patterson Bray PLLC.
When your tire becomes flat — whether from slowly leaking air or popping — pull over to the side of the road immediately. Get out of the way of any oncoming traffic as much as possible. Some shoulder areas are very narrow. If the ground next to the shoulder of the road is dry and flat, pull over on that so there is more space between your vehicle and passing cars. If you can, try to pull into a parking lot where you are away from the main stream of traffic.
Check Your Surroundings
If you are in a busy area, be aware of your surroundings. Many drivers on the road speed, so you will need to keep an eye out for passing cars. They may not see you easily, so look around you in every direction before exiting your vehicle to ensure you are in the clear. Keep your head on a swivel when outside of your car working on your tire. If you have someone with you, have them also keep an eye out for oncoming traffic.
If you are traveling with a buddy, ask them to help you change your tire. If you are not traveling with someone or no one in the car is experienced at changing tires, call for help. There are many services you can call that will help. Check the owner’s manual of your car, as many cars often come with roadside assistance services; your owner’s manual will contain the number you should call for assistance. You can always call a family member to come help as well. If neither of those are options, you can always call the police for help.
In order to change a tire, you must remove all the lug nuts on the tire. Loosen these while the car is on the ground. Then, get out your car jack. Place it under the car near the tire. Before jacking up your vehicle, make sure the jack is going to push up on something solid and metal. Many new cars have decorative plastic on the outside that will break if pressure from a jack is put on it. When your car is up on the jack, be vigilant at all times as it is possible for the jack to break or the car to come off of it. Finish unscrewing the lug nuts, take off your bad tire. Replace it with your spare. Place the lug nuts back on, and bring the car slowly off the jack. Finish tightening the lug nuts and you are good to go.
Check your owner’s manual — or even just look at your spare tire as some of them have the information on them — for how fast you can drive on a spare. Spare tires are not made for speeding, so you do not want to go over the recommended limit otherwise you risk damaging your car and getting into an accident.
If you experience a flat tire, safely change it. If your flat tire leads to an accident, contact an attorney near you for help immediately.