A tyre blow-out is often cited as a terrifying ordeal, yet it couldn’t be easier to deal with. You basically do nothing.
The most common cause of a tyre failure is under-inflation, which massively overheats and cuts the sagging rubber until it explodes. If you whack a kerb or something really graunches the wheel, then it can weaken the tyre. A fault will reveal itself as a bulge or a cut in the sidewall, assuming you remember to check. If you didn’t check, you may find yourself flying down the highway some weeks later when a sensation similar to the shudder of the rumble strip signals imminent tyre failure.
A tyre blow-out at the front or rear demands pretty much the same response: keep the steering wheel straight and ease off the throttle. Check your mirrors for other traffic and steer gently towards the hard shoulder or somewhere safe to stop.
If you hit the brakes, the car will want to swivel around the blown tyre and introduce you to a world of pain. The same will happen if you steer sharply. Keep it slow and steady.
A rear blow-out in a top-heavy 4x4 or SUV may cause the rear to crab sideways as the proportion of weight higher up in the vehicle acts like a lever and you may have to work at holding a straight course until the speed drops and you regain control. In the case of a popped front, it may pull at the steering and cause the front to drop on that side. All you need to do is gently resist with the steering to keep it straight.
If you change to a space-saver tyre, remember they have a speed restriction and limited range, and they don’t handle. So, change for a real one as soon as you can.
Check your tyre pressures regularly, once a month is fine but once a week is better. Inspect the tyres for any damage, especially for a long journey, and never replace a tyre with a second-hand tyre as they were discarded for a reason. Even worse are remould tyres- avoid!