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Prioritise safety when changing a wheel at roadside

I came upon this common-sense safety reminders from the UK road safety and breakdown recovery provider GEM Motoring Assist is supporting their Tyre Safety Month. Its advises motorists to make safety their priority if they need to deal with a flat tyre.


Needing to deal with a flat tyre is inconvenient and quite possibly dangerous, depending on where you have had to stop. So before you start looking for the spare, take a good look at the location and weigh up the potential risks involved. If you are at all concerned, call your recovery operator who will send a trained professional to assist you.

If you decide that you’re confident and capable of completing the job yourself, ensure you can see and be seen, so put on a reflective jacket. Have gloves handy, too, as tyres tend to be pretty mucky. A torch is also a very useful tool.

Check that there is a safe area for any passengers with you, as they cannot stay in the car while you’re changing a wheel. Once again, if you are concerned about safety, try to ensure you park in a safe place and call for assistance.

Making a good job of changing a tyre comes from experience and familiarity with the equipment and processes. GEM encourages drivers to consult their owners’ manual to ensure they know where to find the equipment carried, the locking wheel nut if appropriate, and where to attach the lifting jack.

The chances are your spare wheel will be one of those small, thin ones that are designed for use at speeds of up to 50mph, so ensure you replace it with a proper size tyre as soon as possible. Of course, the majority of cars these days are sold without a spare wheel, so you will need to use the puncture repair kits that’s carried instead.

GEM’s safety tips for dealing with a flat tyre at the roadside
– Switch on your hazard warning lights.
– Make sure the ground is level and secure before jacking your car.
– If it’s safe, place a warning triangle to alert other drivers to the hazard your vehicle might be causing.
– Check at least one of the other wheels.
– Follow the steps laid out for your car in the owners’ handbook.
– Don’t attempt to change a tyre (or carry out any other repair, however simple) on a motorway hard shoulder. Always call for professional breakdown assistance.