UC Riverside Student and Friend Killed Changing Tire on 405

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

What should I do if my tire blows while driving?

Tragedy struck when a 22-year-old student and his friend were killed while attempting to change a flat tire. The student was traveling on the 405 near Yukon Avenue in the early morning hours when his tire blew.  He pulled onto the shoulder and called two friends to help him change his tire.  All three were working on the task when they were suddenly struck by a car.  Two of the victims were killed, while a third suffered serious injuries.  Thus far, no arrests have been made.

Preventing a Blow Out

While it is critical that you know what to do if you get a flat tire, you should first follow some steps to prevent ever being caught in the position of having your tire fail.  Proper maintenance can go a long way towards preserving the life of your tires.  All drivers should regularly inspect their tires for signs of wear, which include uneven tread, bald spots, worn tread, nails, or other flaws.  Properly inflate your tires to protect against tire blowouts.  Have a professional inspect your tires on a routine basis and replace them as needed.

Stay Safe If Your Tire Blows

If your tire fails while driving, you should start by keeping a firm grip on the wheel and gradually slowing down your vehicle.  Pull over to the side of the road when you are able and activate your emergency flashers.  Drivers traveling on the freeway should attempt to take the nearest safe exit if they can drive that far.

Once you are off the road, you need to closely assess the situation.  You should only exit the vehicle if you are safely far enough off the road.  If you are on a busy freeway or too close to the roadway, remain in your vehicle with your emergency lights on and call for roadside or emergency assistance.  It is not worth risking your life to change your tire on your own.  For drivers on a quiet road or far enough away from traffic, you can carefully proceed with changing your tire while keeping a vigilant watch for oncoming vehicles.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.