Road emergency

There is a question regarding road safety that I have mixed opinions about. Now it’s time to ask the experts.

Traveling on a divided highway (two lanes each direction) about 8 cars behind two young men who had a tire problem (blowout? retread tire separated?) and instead of pulling off to the side, they slowed down to about 30-35 and just kept driving. Apparently thinking they would be just as well off to slow down and continue. Tire tread was flying out into the road and cars were steering around it. The pieces of tread just keep coming and these two guys keep going. Passing them is slowed because several cars pull up along side them and try to motion them over. At first it’s just tread flying off the tire, but after a while pieces of the shroud around the wheel well come flying off. Finally passing you notice the left

front fender is vibrating and flapping in the breeze and appears to be attached only at the front bumper area. You try to motion them over, but they nod, smile, and point ahead and to the right. Dumbfounded you watch them in the rearview mirror – turning off to the right.

Would it have been better for them to pull over immeditely and deal with a flat tire rather than have to repair the whole left front fender area? Or did they do the right thing by waiting for an exit? Is it the responibility of the other drivers to remain a safe distance behind the disabled car in order to avoid the flying rubber? What would you do?

It sounds like those two guys are a couple of A-1 jerks. Their actions (or is it inactions?) caused a fairly simple problem to become a more complex one, and they created a situation that endangered others.

Hopefully, they are just car-ignorant, but there is also the possibility that they are irresponsible and just don’t care about other people. The only way that their actions could be considered to be acceptable is if there is no shoulder on the road in question.

What should other drivers do? If I was in that situation, I would either stay very far behind, in order to avoid the debris that was coming off of their car, or I would pass them very quickly in order to get ahead of them. It sounds like other drivers attempted to help them by signaling them to pull over, and that these jerks just decided to ignore the other drivers. As I said, this was an unacceptable course of action by those young guys–unless there was no adequate shoulder for them to stop on.

In a polite tone, they did not do the right thing. In a less polite tone, they’re idiots and not only are they damaging the car, they’re endangering themselves and people around them.
My action would be to stay far away from them.

I’ve posted this once before but it reminds me of the guy in the Dodge Ram pickup that passed me a while back one morning. I live in a rural area with an 8 mile straight strech of 2 lane pavement with little traffic extending west.
While several miles out of town I noticed the truck gaining on me (55 MPH limit) and as he got closer I could see a black blob protruding from the passenger side wheel well. Since it was just after sunrise I thought it was a shadow caused by the wheel.

When he was several lengths behind me I noticed that it was the wheel canted outwards (very badly) and my first thought was what a fool for driving highway speeds with what is obviously the worst ball joint in the world. I slowed up a bit more and as he passed I looked over at him and furiously pointed down at the right front wheel. He simply nodded ok, gave me a thumbs up, and accelerated to about 70 MPH or so.

At this point I hit the brakes because I knew he was going to buy the farm. I tucked in about a block behind him (figuring I would be calling EMS) and about a mile or so later it happened. The entire wheel and spindle assembly broke free, the wheel bounced into the ditch and back over the top of the truck where it landed in the ditch on the opposite side of the road, and the truck started skidding to a halt.

This fool gouged the asphalt for about 200 feet with what remained of the right front suspension and he was just plain lucky the truck, which appeared to be a very late model one, did not roll on him.
I slowed down, gave him the thumbs up when I passed, and kept going. He deserves to walk. One can only wonder what would have happened if it had broken when he was beside me or even worse, that flying wheel/spindle assembly had gone through an oncoming car’s windshield.

Just an example of why one should get as far away as possible from people like this.

To be fair, it’s a lot better to repair car damage than to get hit by a fast moving vehicle while you’re changing a tire on the side of the expressway. It seems they operated with their own safety in mind, which really can’t be faulted. Would you want to be standing on the side of the road while cars blew by you a foot away going over 100km/h?

That said, if there was ample space to safely and completely pull off the road, they should have done so. In the same situation, though, if there was not a wide enough shoulder to safely stop on, it makes sense to proceed to the nearest exit.

I always used think it was more important to stop and pull over immediately to fix a flat - to save from causing further damage to the tire or rim.

Now, I’m convinced the most important thing is to find a SAFE place to get the car to. If that means slowly driving a few miles in the breakdown lane (and ruining the tire and rim), that’s fine. The risk of changing a tire on a busy road just isn’t worth any amount of money saved.

I don’t believe in any driving that would cause risk to other drivers. I don’t know the specifics of the OP’s situation, but if it means driving at 20 mph way over to the right rather than 30-35 in a driving lane, I’d opt for that.

I have had two longtime friends hit by passing cars,the friends were stopped on the right shoulder changing flats.Fatal injuries.Sometimes there is room to stop and change and sometimes you must go on.Obviously my friends made the wrong choice.

Dangerous and illegal drugs.

I’ve had both a blowout and a flat on a busy interstate. In the case of the blowout, the right rear tire was involved. I got the car far enough off the interstate in the break-down lane, turned on the emergency blinkers and changed the tire. The flat was on the left front. I went to the break-down lane and turned on the emergency flashers and then called AAA. They sent a wrecker equipped with an air compressor. The emergency lights on the wrecker slowed traffic and the air powered equipment allowed the tow truck driver to make a rapid tire change. From these experiences, I’ve learned that it is best to call for assistance in changing tires on a busy interstate.

If I were in a situation where the shoulder is closed and had a tire go down, I would turn on the flashers and drive slowly until I could safely exit the roadway. I wouldn’t risk my life for a tire.

Everybody has to make their own decisions. It can be fatal with the idiots on the road now to be on the side of the road. Can’t tell you how many highway patrol cars have been hit with lights on.

If you have a problem and are causing a road hazard, you should pull off the road. If you can proceed safely at low speed on the shoulder, that would be another option. If you encounter an unsafe situation, such as a bad driver or debris, you should take whatever action is necessary to keep your own car under control. Usually that is slowing down and staying well away from the unsafe condition.

I had a similar situation with a drunk driver. I was riding in a friend’s car on the interstate, and a car passed us going at least 90 in a 65 mph zone. Not 10 minutes later, we caught up to that same car, now going about 50 mph and weaving all over the road.

My friend and I agreed it was probably the safest bet to slow way down and stay behind him, since he was drifting so much we couldn’t safely pass. I was convinced he’d been drinking (at about 1 p.m., by the way) and I pulled out my cell phone to report him. As I was calling the local non-emergency number, the guy drifted from the right shoulder all the way across the highway into the guardrail on the left shoulder. He jerked the wheel and wound up flipping his car twice on the grassy embankment to the right of the highway, landing on the roof. The dispatcher answered as this was happening, so she was able to send state troopers and an ambulance immediately.

It turns out the guy driving was 18, wasted, and had taken his father’s car without his permission. My friend and I stayed with him (he was unhurt) until the police arrived because he was so upset about what he’d done he was contemplating walking out into traffic. The officer at the scene took down our contact information and then offered us the case of beer he found in the car. I was 19 at the time…needless to say I turned him down, lol.

Anyway, I second staying as far away from unpredictable drivers as possible.