Blowing out a tire at high speeds can test even the most experienced driver's nerves. Tire blowouts cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of mishaps each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It offers the following advice to improve your chances of surviving a blowout.

Remain Calm: Panicking will only make matters worse and cause you to overcorrect when reacting to braking and steering input.

Slow Gradually: Stomping on the brakes applies weight to the front of your vehicle and could cause it to swerve even if you are holding onto the wheel for dear life. Apply light braking, or allow the vehicle to coast to a stop.

Hold Steering Wheel Firmly: If the blown tire is on the front of your vehicle, you will likely feel a strong pull to the left or right, depending on which tire popped. Again, don't panic. Grip the steering wheel firmly and force the car to straighten. If the blowout is to a back tire, the vehicle may vibrate, but it is less likely you will lose control. Gradually slow down and move to the side of the road.

Wear a Seat Belt: If the worst happens and you crash, wearing a seat belt is still your most effective defense ... and your best chance of survival.