Boom! Whoosh! Flub-dub-flub-dub.
If you’ve done a lot of driving, you’ve probably heard these dreaded sounds in succession, signaling you that you have blown a tire. When this happens, most people feel nothing but panic, but over time, you may be able to see some levity in the situation—like the writers featured in this article. Read on to learn about some real-life tire blow-out stories that weren’t pretty at the time but led to laughs down the line.
Three flat tires!
One time I was a passenger with my friend who was driving us to Pasadena to visit another friend. We heard a pop and didn’t really realize it could be her tire. Then we heard another pop. And another. We kept driving. When we reached her friend’s house, her friend looked at the car and said, “Oh my god! You have three flat tires! How did you even survive that trip?”
Another three flat tires!
Victor and I were on a family road trip with our 5 kids. As we were just about to crest the top of a steep grade, poof, the trailer blew a flat. After spending an hour searching for a way to access the spare tire (it was a tiny keyhole in the bumper—duh!) and changing the tire, we headed down the grade. Thirty minutes later, whoosh, another tire on the trailer blows.
With no spare, we take a chance and limp at 10mph to a tire shop 5 miles away. However, it’s midnight and so we sleep in the parking lot. In the morning we repair the tire and also realize the truck tire picked up a nail along the way. Three tires in less than 12 hours!
This a “false alarm” car tire story. Once on a visit to the States, I rented a little white Toyota. Driving along to meet some friends for dinner, I hit a pothole and soon began to hear the typical “thumping” of a blown tire. Unusually, though, I didn’t feel the sluggishness you typically get in the steering wheel.
I was just down the road from my destination, so I pushed on. Once we parked, out came the flashlight to check the tires. All of them were completely intact – but protruding from one of the rear tires was about half of an immature copperhead snake. It had apparently crawled about half-way out of the wheel well and then began to be thrown around by the rotation. The “thumping” noise was the snake whipping against the tire and the body of the car. Loud, but far more damaging for the snake (and my nerves!) than the car itself.
We purchased a car from a woman who told us she didn’t realize it at the time, but she kept filling her car tire with too much air. She got a brand-new tire and it blew up within the first week. She was confused but purchased another tire. She again filled up another tire and it happened again, but this time it exploded and damaged the front fender on the car. She told us she learned that she wouldn’t be working on her tires ever again and would leave it to professionals.
Thanks to the curve
We were driving down the Atlantic City Expressway in heavy, but fast-moving traffic. We were in the inside lane, and it suddenly sounded like a helicopter was dive-bombing us. It’s Jersey, so, you know, anything’s possible. Then our minivan (filled with our four children) started shimmying bad, and we started fishtailing.
So, we began our monumental task of getting from the inside lane to the outside shoulder of the Expressway. By that point, the tire had completely blown off the car, and we were riding on the rim. Where we stopped was on a curve, with a guardrail, so we were unable to get far enough off the road to feel safe. In fact, we were just barely off the driving lane, and approaching traffic couldn’t see us with much warning, thanks to the curve.
Of course, the tire that was blown was on the driver’s side. I didn’t know if I should take my kids out of our crash target – that’s what I felt that our van was – and take them into the litter-filled woods near the Expressway, or if I should leave them buckled up in the van, braced for impact.
In typical Jersey-driver fashion, not a single driver moved into a non-adjacent lane as a courtesy. No, if anything, it seemed they drove as close as they could to our disabled van as my poor husband was lying on the roadway switching out the tire. I was literally planning for my emergency response for if he got plowed over by a semi.
We – and by we, I mean my husband – put the donut on, which had never before been used and had about 10 pounds of pressure. With a big sigh of relief, we limped our way out of there.
It was one of the scariest half-hours of my life, but we survived! So, we’re able to laugh.
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