Like most things in life, there are conditions when driving that we cannot control. Sometimes, the roads are made badly, with hazardous obstacles in the way. Sometimes, you may have extremely bad weather that’ll throw all your time in driving school right out the window. In these situations, you may lose control of your car, and end up in a driving emergency. However, there are ways to prepare for them. The important thing is to have knowledge and practice to help ingrain the proper reaction to a specific emergency.
1. Brake Failure
What you shouldn’t be doing
When your brakes seem to react slowly or suddenly stop working, it is important never to panic. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and your hands on the steering wheel. Unless there is something right in front of you, you shouldn’t make any sudden turns as it will place yourself and others in danger. Try these tips:
1. Instead of slamming the brakes and holding your foot there, pump the brake pedal rapidly and hard several times, to help build enough brake pressure to stop the car.
2. Shift to a low gear to perform engine braking and slow your car down, and let your car ease into a slow stop.
3. Use the parking brake, or the hand brake. Avoid pulling it directly in a quick motion. Instead, keep your hand on the brake to help control the car, and avoid the wheels from locking.
2. Sudden Acceleration/ Jammed Accelerator
Your accelerator may sometimes be stuck at a certain point, causing your car to jump forward in sudden acceleration. It may be caused by a misstep on the wrong pedal or a loose floor mat. Again, the idea is to keep your cool and have control of your car. Remember, your brakes are designed to stop a moving car, no matter how fast it’s going. Try slapping the accelerator from the side with your foot to get it loose. If that doesn’t work, try these tips:
1. Shift into neutral. Most modern cars have engine speed limiters to prevent damage, and it’s better to have damage to your car than crashing into someone or something.
2. Brake moderately to come to a slow stop. Most brakes can overpower your engine, but over braking may cause your wheels to lock if you don’t have Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).
3. In the worst case scenario, turn off your engine. It should stop the increasing acceleration, and give you time to brake to a slow stop.
3. Engine on Fire
Literally a Hot Rod
When your car begins to overheat, or catch fire, aim to stop at the side. More often than not, you will have time to stop before the fire catches in the cabin. Always be alert and keep an eye for any smoke coming out from under the hood; this will help you detect if there is a fire. Follow these steps when you see smoke appearing:
1. Turn into the emergency lanes, and stop the car as quickly and as safely as possible.
2. Turn off the engine.
3. Get out and away from the car. No possession is worth risking your life over.
4. Tyre Blowout
A bursting tyre can be a source of panic for most drivers, but with the right knowledge, you can handle it like a pro. While most of the usual drivers on the road will attempt to immediately swerve to the side, you should accelerate straight ahead to control your car. When your tyre blows, you should try these tips:
1. Accelerate for a quick moment. It will help you regain control of your car instead of crashing into another lane. Release the accelerator gently and smoothly while steering straight.
2. Allow your car to coast or slow down without the brakes as you gently ease into the emergency lane. Squeeze the brakes lightly if you have to.
5. Running off the Pavement
At times, emergencies or a slight loss of control can send you off the pavement. Avoid steering back immediately as this can cause you to lose complete control of your car and send you spinning. In these situations, you should have these tips in mind:
1. Avoid letting go of the steering wheel. Instead, hold it tightly and keep steering ahead.
2. Release the accelerator gently, and brake moderately. This should help you slow the car down enough to control.
3. Once you regain control of your car, steer it back to the road. Of course, you should still be looking out for obstacles and oncoming cars. You don’t want to have survived a mishap to fall into another mishap.
Theory, may help start you off, but you should try to practice these tips on an empty road or parking lot. This will help you memorise every action you should take in an emergency. Once you have these tips ingrained in you, you are less likely to panic and lose control of your car.
Original article here.
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