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View Full Version : If all 4 tyres on a car blow at once, what happens?



Becky Black
04-18-2010, 10:43 PM
My characters are ambushed and their tyres blown out with a stinger (probably an improvised one, rather than a nice "safe" police one with hollow spikes to deflate the tyres more slowly.) I've seen plenty of footage of that happening to cars, but what I can't seem to find is what it's like for the people inside the car when it happens.

What, if any, control does the driver still have over the car? What happens with the steering and the brakes? Can the car be stopped with the brakes, or does the full weight of the car on the wheel rims crush them and stop the car?

Is it different if it's two wheel or four wheel drive? Can the car skid, or I suppose, slide on the wheel rims? Will there be a feeling of "dropping" a few inches when all four tyres are burst?

Any thoughts, or personal experience even, much appreciated.

thothguard51
04-18-2010, 10:58 PM
Depends on type of vehicle, road conditions and speed. You can continue to drive on flat tires and even after they tear away, you can drive on the rims until they melt, but control of things like turning, speeding up or stopping can be very tricky.

As to what happens inside the car to the occupants, again, it depends on drivers experience and reaction. Are they confident, or do they panic easily. Panicking might cause the vehicle to go out of control, or flip, depending on if its an SUV or small sports type car, and the speed it is traveling.

Becky Black
04-19-2010, 12:05 AM
Thanks!

Definitely not a panicky guy. A soldier and in this case, someone who people have tried to murder a few times before. He's used to it. :D

Probably not travelling all that fast, since it's at night on an unlit road, with only his headlights to see the way. I definitely don't want the car flipping, I need the occupants to get out fit and well (so they can be tasered, drugged and abducted. ;))

shaldna
04-19-2010, 12:06 AM
Ok, and I can't belive I'm admitting to this, but I once ran over a flat cautionary spike line the wrong way (they are the spikes that sit at about 30 degrees to teh road, if you drive over them the right way they depress and you're fine. Drive over them the wrong way and you burst your tyres.) I was doing about 60 at the time (coming out of Crawfordsburn Country park for any locals out there)

After the inital bump and WTF moment, the car sort of slid slightly sideways and became very heavy in my hands. Because I was going so fast when I hit them, I tried to apply the brakes, but since all 4 tyres were shot that didn't work out too well. When I did stop it was a skidding kind of stop and.

Becky Black
04-19-2010, 01:09 AM
Thanks, Shaldna. Nothing beats first hand experience. ;) Ah, the WTF moment, definitely gotta have that, since the characters don't see it coming at all. They're not in a chase, just tootling along happily when BAM!

shaldna
04-19-2010, 11:44 AM
Yeah. the WTF moment only lasted a second before I realised what I had done and the 'oh shit' moment hit, closely followed by 'i'm such an idiot' and then 'this is gonna cost me a fortune'

Kathie Freeman
04-19-2010, 08:02 PM
How would the missile blow out all 4 tires unless it detonated directly under the vehicle and if it did, it's pretty hard to steer from 10 feet in the air! Seriously, though, if all 4 tires blew at once the vehicle would slow down but you'd still have control. It's when 1 tire bursts (especially a front one) that you lose control and possibly flip.

Becky Black
04-19-2010, 10:52 PM
How would the missile blow out all 4 tires unless it detonated directly under the vehicle and if it did, it's pretty hard to steer from 10 feet in the air! Seriously, though, if all 4 tires blew at once the vehicle would slow down but you'd still have control. It's when 1 tire bursts (especially a front one) that you lose control and possibly flip.

Thanks, Kathie. Heh, I forgot that "stinger" could be ambiguous. For clarification here for those who haven't heard of one, a stinger in this context is a device used mostly by police, a long strip with spikes on that's laid across the road to stop cars by bursting their tyres. Some have hollow spikes that break off and stay in the tyres, allowing them to deflate more slowly and bring the car to a stop a bit more gently and safely.

Richard White
04-20-2010, 02:11 AM
We call those "spike strips" in the U.S.

Some have hollow spikes, some have solid spikes.

Some have a leash so they can pop the bad guy's tires and then the police officer can pull it back quickly so the pursuing officers don't run over it.

Some don't and they tend to take out both the criminals and the pursuers. (Those tend to make the "World's Dumbest" shows here.)

shaldna
04-20-2010, 10:55 AM
We call those "spike strips" in the U.S.

Some have hollow spikes, some have solid spikes.

Some have a leash so they can pop the bad guy's tires and then the police officer can pull it back quickly so the pursuing officers don't run over it.

Some don't and they tend to take out both the criminals and the pursuers. (Those tend to make the "World's Dumbest" shows here.)


Haha. Brilliant.

The ones I hit were embedded in the road to stop people going the wrong way over them.

Guess that worked out well

Griesmeel
04-21-2010, 12:23 AM
Just read a newsitem and here's what can happen:
In Rotterdam the police stopped a guy who decided to drive the car to the repairshop on four flat tires. He was also missing his left side mirror but who's counting anyway.
However, it didn't say how he ended up with the four flats in the first place so I'm a little disappointed.

Making mistakes is what makes us human. :D

Becky Black
04-21-2010, 12:48 AM
Heh, why would someone even try that? Was he thinking "Just act natural. Nobody will notice..."

Mark_Young
04-22-2010, 01:37 AM
Thanks!

Definitely not a panicky guy. A soldier and in this case, someone who people have tried to murder a few times before. He's used to it. :D

Probably not travelling all that fast, since it's at night on an unlit road, with only his headlights to see the way. I definitely don't want the car flipping, I need the occupants to get out fit and well (so they can be tasered, drugged and abducted. ;))

I know a bit off topic, but you're talking about a soldier, someone who's killed others before, and then gets abducted? My next question is what they did as a soldier. Someone who was a mechanic and did limited infantry combat training in the Army is going to be different from a battle-hardened and extremely experienced member of the SAS or American Marine.


Anyway, back on topic, it really depends on a great deal of factors, including your improvised device. (It's also not a bad idea to mention that it's improvised somewhere.) The other thing you have to keep in mind is that the police will generally throw them out directly in the path of the car and hope to "catch it". So I don't know how your antagonists are going to achieve this. Also the type of car will matter as will how it drives (front, rear, all-wheel drive), their speed, weather, type of road, and what the driver's immediate reaction will be (steering off the road, slamming on the brakes, try to keep going as far as possible, etc.)

So to break it down:

1. What is the improvised device?

2. How is it employed?

3. What type of vehicle was the character driving?

4. How fast was the character going and in what weather conditions?

5. What will be the driver's immediate reaction to cope with the sudden blow-outs?

Becky Black
04-22-2010, 01:33 PM
Thanks, Mark. All good points to ponder.

The main reason the driver doesn't see it coming is that it's at night, on an unlit road and by the time he sees it in his headlights, it's too late. Of course, that also means he's not going all that fast in the dark. The weather conditions are dry, it's in the middle of the desert. So the road surface is dry, with a bit of sand.

The car is a Jeep - but I mean as in the civilian consumer versions, not an actual military Jeep.

I'm kind of wavering on if it's an improvised stinger, or a police one. The bad guys have got pals in the police and if they've got hold of Tasers they could get hold of a stinger. So I'm still wavering a bit on that.

The bad guys know who they are dealing with here, so they're not messing about. (There's two guys in the car, both soldiers. Though one's behind a desk more these days he's still fit and pretty sharp.) That's why the bad gus have got tasers as well as guns, so they can incapacitate them from a distance. And they've brought plenty of guys along. And handcuffs and shackles. And sedatives. They're not taking chances! It's one I'm still trying to get the details right on, as these guys should definitely not be easy to take down.

Mark_Young
04-22-2010, 02:18 PM
Thanks, Mark. All good points to ponder.

The main reason the driver doesn't see it coming is that it's at night, on an unlit road and by the time he sees it in his headlights, it's too late. Of course, that also means he's not going all that fast in the dark. The weather conditions are dry, it's in the middle of the desert. So the road surface is dry, with a bit of sand.

The car is a Jeep - but I mean as in the civilian consumer versions, not an actual military Jeep.

I'm kind of wavering on if it's an improvised stinger, or a police one. The bad guys have got pals in the police and if they've got hold of Tasers they could get hold of a stinger. So I'm still wavering a bit on that.

The bad guys know who they are dealing with here, so they're not messing about. (There's two guys in the car, both soldiers. Though one's behind a desk more these days he's still fit and pretty sharp.) That's why the bad gus have got tasers as well as guns, so they can incapacitate them from a distance. And they've brought plenty of guys along. And handcuffs and shackles. And sedatives. They're not taking chances! It's one I'm still trying to get the details right on, as these guys should definitely not be easy to take down.


Good, good... also good... ok.

Jeeps sit up high and tend to have thick tires (I'm American, please bear with me, I'm perfectly aware the English were the first to develop the language and I'm the one with the accent). But they also have roll-over bars for a good reason.

My aunt was trying to drive up an on-ramp to a bridge on a highway when she accidentally bumped a curb on one side and rolled off the ramp. Luckily, she wasn't going nearly fast or high enough to roll directly into on-coming highway traffic and didn't do any full rolls (just shifted to the side. Everything was fine, even the jeep).

Jeep would also mean it's going to be all-wheel drive. All the tires are going to pushing that vehicle forward. Since you mentioned a desert (a bit of sand on a dry road) and from what I've seen in videos, it's probably going to roll forward for a bit.

He's going to hit that WTF? moment. The bad guys could easily position themselves in front and beside the area the stinger is placed and close in quickly because he's not going fast (far) for very long.




In all likelihood, the vehicle will coast forward after the blowouts. Tires will quickly de-pressurize, feel a slight bump, and from what I remember when we got a flat tire, hear a rumbling sound, the driver will try to apply brakes to come to a stop (and he will very quickly). Probably be able to ease off to the side of the road. I doubt very seriously it will flip or do anything very dramatic. So if you included that I would suggest removing it as that's really Hollywood-like.

I would also suggest having them not know about the ambush at all until the flat tires. The characters open their doors to try to figure out what happened and BAM! multiple footsteps are rushing at them.

Becky Black
04-22-2010, 04:21 PM
Thanks for that excellent info Mark.

I'm definitely going to have them not see it coming. It's pitch black, there's no moon even, so they don't see anything until the moment they hit the stinger. Speed will definitely be of the essence for the bad guys to come out on top here.