Hold on tight but whatever you do, resist the urge to slam on the brakes.
That’s about the best advice WA truckie Jai McDougall has for his fellow drivers after walking away from this hair-raising incident on National Highway 1 about 200km south of Kununurra last week.
McDougall, who works for Kununurra-based ready mix concrete supplier Guerinoni & Son, was driving the Kenworth T650 bobtail at the time when the steer tyre blew at 100km/h.
“I just pretty much kicked the clutch pedal to take the cruise control out and let it run down itself,” said McDougall, who first shared the dramatic clip with the Facebook group Truck Dash-Cam Australia to widespread praise for his skills.
“If you jump on the brakes, it shifts all the weight forward on to the front axle, and that could spear you off into the bush even further. With all the weight going to the front, it’s going to try and bite in.”
McDougall is just counting his lucky stars that the tyre didn’t blow 500m down the road at the one-lane bridge.
“If it had, I would have been off the side. And if it had been a right-hand steer, I might have been up for manslaughter charges with those cars coming at me.
“Old mate in the one that stopped was shaking more than I was.”
McDougall says the damage was surprisingly minimal. He took out the reduced speed sign before stopping, but deftly missed the upright steel part which could have been a different story altogether.
After waiting 2.5 hours for a replacement tyre and rim, the diesel mechanic-turned truckie was back on the road in no time – hoping he’s used up all his bad luck with blown steer tyres.
The same thing happened to him around a year ago about 120km from this spot, but at night while McDougall was driving a 120-tonne triple. McDougall also shared the dashcam clip with Big Rigs below.
That time, the only damage, other than the rim, was to McDougall’s stress levels.