How Bad Is It To Drive On A Flat Tire? What Do Statistics Say?

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A flat tire happens at some point or another, and usually occurs at the worst times! No matter what has caused the flat tire while driving, one thing is sure, you may want to drive with it at least to get out of the situation. 

But driving with a flat tire for long? It is very bad (not recommended) to drive on a flat tire. That’s because if you drive with a flat tire, more damage will happen which can be costly or even irreparable to fix. More than that, in the worst cases, flat tires can cause severe road accidents. 

That is just a hint! Let us try to look deep into the matter for better insight.

How Bad Is It To Drive On A Flat Tire? What Damages Can It Cause?

Flat tires are never good to be driven on the road. To be frank, you should not drive your car even a mile if you have a flat tire. It will be a terrible decision! 

The action is very dangerous not only for you, but also for the passengers who are traveling with you or the people around you. 

Wondering what that much bad can happen to tell so? Then let us see the consequences of driving with a flat tire. 

More Tire Damage Beyond Repair

When you drive with a flat tire, it can worsen the present condition.

Usually, low-pressure or small punctures are repairable. But if you continue driving, the intense heat will build up.

It can cause puncture expansion and irreparable damage to the tires and the car as well.

Bent Or Warped Rims

By driving with a flat tire, you will not only worsen the tire situation, but also the rims of it. When you drive with a flat tire, you are likely to put more weight on the rim edges of your car. 

As the rims are meant to touch the surface of the road while driving, they can be bent or warped due to the more weight. Now you may need to replace it.

Related: The Difference Between Wheels And Rims [3 Major Reasons]

Remember that replacing the rims is not very cheap! Apart from damaging the rim, the action can also result in the tire shoulder damage. 

Wobble And Flex On The Road

As you continue driving with a flat tire, it will lose its pressure depending on the damage. The lowest pressure you can drive is 10 PSI.

But driving the car with that much lower pressure makes the tires lose their braking speed and grip. 

As a result, the car will wobble and flex making it more prone to lose traction on the road. 

Overall Safety Hazards

Driving with a flat tire can also be life-threatening. It can cause accidents at any speed. It is because you will find it hard to steer your vehicle in the direction you want when you have a flat tire.

Accidents may occur as you will lose control at any time. So, whenever you have a flat tire do not go on driving with it. That being said, in any situation, life comes first! 

What Are The Statistics About Flat Tire Accidents?

To most drivers, flat tires may seem likely to be an inconvenient matter. But actually, it is not a cinch! 

There are several crashes including deaths are reported each year due to flat tires or any bad tire-related causes. 

  • You know, 27% of road emergencies are tire-related.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, on average, 11,000 crashes occur every year due to bad tires and in those accidents, more than 600 people die.

  • As reported, there are 200 deaths on average each year resulting from tire failures between 2000- 2015.
  • Based on consumer reports, among all the tire-related crashes, half of them are involved in a single vehicle. Only 31 percent of them are not related to tire issues. 
  • Cars with underinflated tires can cause crashes three times more than vehicles with properly inflated tires. 
  • According to the study by the United Tires, among 5,470 car accidents, 45% of SUVs have tire-related issues before they get into a crash. 
  • Texas, Pennsylvania, and Kansas are the states with the highest number of reported car tire-related crashes.

What About The Road Laws? Is It Legal To Drive With A Flat Tire?

Every state has laws regarding unsafe driving. When you have a flat tire in your vehicle, there can be legal consequences. 

Legal consequences for driving with a flat tire, really? Yes! 

A flat tire is not only perilous for you, but also for others. Driving with a flat tire is an offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 41A. 

The act of driving with a flat tire can lead you to a £100 fixed penalty notice as well as three points on the driving license. 

The police are not likely to allow you to drive any further on the road until the tires are repaired or replaced on the roadside.

According to the highway code, as a driver of a vehicle, you should always keep your tires properly inflated under the manufacturer’s specifications to carry the load on the road safely. 

You should always refer to the handbook or data of the vehicle to do so. Ensure to keep the tires of your vehicle free from certain cuts or other damages. 

No Other Options! How Far Can I Go With A Flat Tire?

Speaking of the truth, distance to your destination does not count in flat tire dangers. 

Fortunately, you can drive a short distance if you must. You should drive just as far as you need to safely get off the road before being unable to go any further. 

The limitation of driving with a flat tire is 50 miles, right after you get punctured. If you drive more, you are likely to have more tire damage. 

You should drive your car not more than 50 mph with a flat tire. It is because, with this speed, you will have better control of the car without damaging the rim. 

In case the tires have totally lost the pressure, we are afraid you can go 5 miles less or more. 

But if you want to go with a fix rather than taking the risk of driving, then we’ll explain to you how to fix it!

Got A Flat? What Can I Do To Repair Or Fix A Flat Tire?

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There are certain things you can do if you have a flat tire in your vehicle. For instance, if you have a spare tire, you can go for a replacement. 

In case, you do not have a spare tire, some ways can fix the tire temporarily before getting it replaced. Check it out. 

# Situation 1: If You Have A Spare Tire

Here is how you can replace the flat tires if you have the spare one. 

Tools required: 

  • Jack 
  • Tire iron 
  • Tire pressure gauge 
  • Manual of your vehicle 
  • Flashlight and mat [additional] 

Step 1: Pull Over Your Car Quickly But Safely

First quickly pull your car to a safe side on the road. Put out emergency lights or cons to let the other driver know that you are in dire condition. 

If you are in a populated area or town, you can find a parking lot to be off the road or the traffic. 

Step 2: Lift Your Vehicle

Loosen the lug nuts of the flat tire using a tire iron. Now lift your vehicle with the help of the jack. 

Ensure to jack your vehicle underneath the metal part of the car and not on the plastic frames. 

Step 3: Remove The Flat Tire

Remove the previously loosened lug nuts and remove the tire. Ensure to place the lug nuts in a safe box so as not to lose any of them. 

Step 4: Install The New Or Spare Tire

Now install the new spare tire in your vehicle. Place the lug nuts in their place but do not tighten them at once. 

First, slowly lower your vehicle, and when the spare tire touches the ground, tighten the lug nuts. 

Secure the lug nuts as tight as possible. That is all to do! 

# Situation 2: Fixes Other Than Replacing

As we have already mentioned, we will tell you the ways of fixing the flat tire in case you do not have a spare tire. Let’s check it out.

  • Tire Repair Kit

Tire repair kits come in handy in times like that. The kit often has a patch that can plug the leak for the time being. It is not a permanent fix though.

  • Tire Plug Kit

It is also another way to fix a flat tire. Using a tire plug kit, plug the leak of the tire temporarily. Now get the car to the service center for the tire replacement.

  • Fix A Flat With Spray

It is used for fixing flat tires quickly and temporarily. What you need to do is, identify the leak first and keep your car with the leak of the tire in the 6 o’clock position.

Now dispense the flat spray to the leak for a temporary fix.

How Can I Prevent A Flat Tire Problem In My Vehicle?

Enough of all the statistics and the fixing discussion! Now let us come to the most crucial point- how to prevent a flat tire.

It is a general truth, that prevention is always the best choice. Here are some tips that you should be aware of.

  1. Always ensure to have proper tire pressure according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  2. Inspect the tires of your vehicle for surface cracks and bulges. 
  3. Avoid heavy loads that can weigh a lot on the tires. 
  4. Keep an eye out for road hazards, like potholes, nails, or pieces of glass. Try to avoid construction areas. 
  5. Get a regular tire rotation. 
  6. You can also equip your vehicle with run-flat tires.


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