Personal safety in the event of a puncture

Common signs of a Puncture whilst Driving

Wheel shudder: This is where you feel a shuddering effect through the steering wheel or a wobbling feeling from the car.

Steering Heavy: The car suddenly becomes difficult to steer, this is normally associated with a slow tyre deflation (slow puncture).

Car steers to the left or Right: Medium tyre deflation, car feels as if it is being pulled to the left or right.

Car violently swerves to the left or right: This is normally associated with a blow out at speed, where the tyre bursts or disintegrates on puncture.

If a puncture occurs on a motorway seek professional help and follow our motorway (Tips and advice Article No 6)


  1. If possible try to manoeuvre your car to a safe well lit busy area like a shopping centre or supermarket car park.
  2. Apply your handbrake and switch on your side-lights and warning hazard lights.
  3. Assess to see if it is safe to get out of the car to investigate.
  4. If it is safe; before you unlock the doors or get out of your car, if you have a mobile phone ring a friend or family member to tell them what has happened and where you are.
  5. If you feel uneasy by a Good Samaritan approaching you, remain in your car with the doors locked. If the stranger gestures or speaks to you, do not get out of your car or unlock your doors. Unwind your window just enough to assure him that help is on the way and then rewind your window staying in your car until you feel the perceived danger has gone.
  6. Be aware of moving traffic; do not try to replace a wheel with traffic passing on the side of the car where the puncture has occurred.
  7. Only try to change the wheel if you are parked on solid ground in a well lit safe area. (if at all in doubt seek professional help)
  8. Always wear your High Visibility waistcoat both in daylight and at night.
  9. Remember to set out your Safety Triangle at least 45-50 metres from your car facing the oncoming traffic which in most circumstances the triangle will be placed behind your car.
  10. If you have not already practiced changing a wheel; consult your handbook for the correct jacking points and the safe operation of the jack.
  11. Avoid going back and forwards to the boot of your car by gathering all the materials together before you try to change the wheel. Namely, torch, rubber gloves, tool kit, jack, wheel brace and spare wheel.
  12. At night don't stand behind your car obscuring your tail lights from oncoming traffic. Stay alert and keep an eye out for traffic or any unexpected hazards.
  13. Make sure your handbrake is firmly applied. Remove the wheel trim on the wheel with the punctured tyre and loosen the wheel nuts slightly before jacking up the car. Raise the jack, undo the wheel nuts and remove the wheel to the rear of the car.
  14. Changing a wheel can be both tiring and stressful so take a moment or two to gather your breath.
  15. Remember to stay alert - Line up the spare wheel and tighten the wheel nuts, lower the car and remove the jack. As the car is now safely on the ground, further tighten the wheel nuts, replace the wheel trim and secure the punctured tyre/ wheel/ jack and other materials.
  16. Note! In many modern cars the spare wheel is designed to be used only as a temporary measure to get you home or to a near garage, they come with reduced speed limits for safe use. These wheels very often come with their own wheel nuts which are designed for use with the spare wheel only. (see handbook)
  17. Before setting off, retrieve your warning triangle and remember to telephone your family or friends to tell them all is well and that you are continuing your journey.

Women Driving Alone Personal Safety in the event of a Puncture

Tips and Advice - Article No.7 RoadDriver 2010

For more information and a printable version to pass on to friends and family, click the link below.

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