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Q&A: What to do in event of a blowout

What to do in event of a blowout

Recently there was a story in the Times regarding a tire blowout leading to an SUV rollover. On the other hand, reality shows such as Cops routinely show vehicles speeding along on wheel rims with sparks flying. In the past, I have had a front wheel fly off and was able to coast to an uneventful stop. What factors lead to a rollover and what can be done to minimize risk after a blowout?

More than 8,200 Americans died in 2009 in rollover accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — about 25 percent of all driving fatalities. And that's down significantly from the average of 10,000 a year who died in rollover accidents in the previous decade.

Rollovers typically happen after the driver has lost control of the vehicle for any number of reasons: tire blowouts, striking a curb or a median or a ditch, driving at a high rate of speed, colliding with another car, swerving suddenly, etc.

Statistics have shown that some types of vehicles, such as sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) with their higher center of gravity, are more likely to roll over than others. You can improve your chances of avoiding a rollover in an SUV by driving at a moderate rate of speed, keeping both hands on the wheel, balancing the vehicle's load side to side and not overloading the roof.

If you do experience a blowout, in an SUV or any vehicle, follow these safety tips from experts:

• Don't panic.

• Don't slam on the brakes.

• Step on the accelerator slightly for a second to offset the pulling caused by the blown tire.

• Keep a tight, two-handed grip on the wheel and keep it steady and straight. Focus on staying in your lane.

• When you have the vehicle stabilized, gently slow down. When the vehicle's speed drops to 15 or 20 mph, slowly press the brakes until you stop.

• Once stopped, take a deep breath and carefully check traffic before exiting the car.

March was among our wettest

We seemed to have gotten a lot of rain in March. Was it a record?

No, but it did make the top 10 wettest Marches in a lot of the Tampa Bay area, according to a report from the National Weather Service's Ruskin office.

Saint Leo in Pasco County got the most rain, 12.47 inches, the third-most for March since record-keeping started in 1895. The average March there records 4.06 inches of rain.

Tarpon Springs had 11.29 inches, its fourth-rainiest March since 1892. The average March is 3.85 inches.

Tampa got 9.79 inches, making it the fifth-rainiest March since 1890. Its average March has 2.84 inches of rain.

And St. Petersburg got 7.3 inches, ranking it 10th on the March precipitation list since 1914. An average March would have 3.29 inches.

Q&A: What to do in event of a blowout 04/10/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 10, 2011 4:30am]
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