Tyre blowouts are legitimately scarey. Two years ago, your author experienced a catastrophic boom from a Firestone Firehawk whilst slow-speed manoeuvring in a car park. It split the bead but fortunately, no damage was done to the wheel or car. The same cannot be said for the driver of this classic Triumph TR7 convertible, who lost control after losing the right rear in a supremely dramatic fashion.
In this instance, it's not just the blowout that's dramatic but the uncanny timing of this video. Posted on YouTube by ViralHog, it comes from an exterior camera on a Tesla Model 3 driving down a highway in Ohio USA. The driver is passing cars in the left lane and all seems fine. We then come upon a small convertible, easily identifiable as a classic TR7 thanks to the sharp, wedge body lines and big Triumph decal on the nose. And then, as the driver's side rear tyre is perfectly positioned in the camera's frame, it explodes. Watch closely and you can actually see a puff of atomised material the moment it lets go.
What happens next doesn't require keen eyesight of any kind. Large chunks of rubber go flying as the car first lurches to the left, then spins out to the right. Fortunately, traffic on the highway is light and no other cars are caught in the crossfire. The old Triumph does a full 360 before sliding off the road backward into a deep ditch, disappearing from sight. The camera car stops, and the video description says the driver was allegedly okay.
The video got us thinking more about blowouts and tyre safety, so we checked in with Tyre-Reviews.com boss and tyre guru Jonathan Benson about this video. He stated that, whilst modern tyres are extremely sturdy compared to the old days, he has noticed something of a reversal with regard to manufacturers seeking lower rolling resistance. This takes weight out of the tyre which can make it weaker and more susceptible to pothole damage. However, he points to neglect as being the main cause of blowouts.
"Usually a nail in the tyre will not cause a catastrophic failure like that," said Benson. "There needs to be a fair bit of damage to the structure. From my experience, people either running too low pressure or running with unnoticed, uneven wear are the main reasons for blowouts. And sadly, this is more likely to happen at the worst possible time – like at speed when heat makes the tyre structure weaker and the centrifugal forces are at their highest."
Within two seconds of the tyre exploding in this clip, the driver loses control. Six seconds later, the car is in the ditch. Seeing just how quickly this happens, you can bet we'll be following Benson's advice and checking our tyres much closer before hitting the road. Stay safe out there everyone.