At one point I was forced to break rapidly and pull slightly on to a curb while on a road trip with coworkers yesterday evening. It was a blind turn into the setting sun and I was in the wrong lane next an 18 wheeler. After the huge tractor trailer and traffic passed we pulled back on past the bumping curb and drain, and continued driving for another 10 minutes. It was during this time that the car felt like the alignment was out of whack. I was a little worried, but figured I could drop off the vehicle after the trip to have it fully checked out.
What had happened was that there was a tiny fracture in the tire and it was very low on air pressure. We were basically driving on three supporting wheels and a flat. A large buzzing noise was the sign of the blow out, and I quickly and safely pulled off the high way. At that point we were only about a mile away from a service area, so I was hoping to get there at a crawls pace on the flat. Unfortunately the tire was shredded and we'd be riding on the rim so I discarded that option. My XTerra requires some funky post with a crank to lower the full spare, of which I was completely clueless. RTFM has never been truer, and all the info was in the car manual. Luckily an officer stopped and called in a mobile service guy to give me a hand. Thanks unknown highway patrol and road service guys, your aid was much appreciated.
While nothing tragic occurred from the blow out, I thought it was worth relating the incident to any other motorists who may find themselves in a similar situation. Any slight feeling of loss of control of a vehicle is worth pulling over and inspecting carefully. Just make sure you pull far off the highway or into a service area, the shoulder on highways is a dangerous place to be out of your vehicle.