Techniques to avoid car accidents aren’t all taught in driver’s education. Instead, it is something that most people learn when their lives on are the line. However, following the tips below can help you avoid an accident in an emergency scenario.
1) Tire Blows out
Tire blowouts usually occur on hot days when drivers are traveling in a straight line. The most common cause of tire blowouts is under inflated tires, a situation that can be avoided entirely if tire pressure is checked on a regular basis. To survive a tire blowout, you have to push the gas and drive straight. Sounds easy, but it is actually quite difficult. The blast that occurs when a tire blows is enough to startle even the most composed and experienced drivers. Most driver’s natural reaction is to brake and turn off the road. However, to avoid a crash, drivers must coast to a slow speed and then gently turn off the road. It is best to head for the median that corresponds to the blown tire because this will make changing the tire safer.
2) Tire Tread Separates
A tread separation is when the tread rubber and the underlying steel belt come off a tire. After the separation has occurred, the driver is left with tire shreds and a blade of steel-backed rubber spinning around at an extremely high rate of speed. The survival technique for tread separation and a tire blowout is almost identical. However, a tread separation is a much more dangerous situation than a tire blowout. If a driver does not slow down and stop quickly, the tread separation debris can cause damage to brake lines, the fuel tank, rear seats, inner fender panels, windows and of course any person who is unlucky enough to be near the vehicle when the separation occurs.
While a tread separation may surprise you, there are symptoms of a tread separation that you should be aware of. The most common event that precedes a tread separation is a long thumping noise that turns into a slapping noise. When the tread separation occurs, it sounds like a jackhammer pounding. The time it takes for this progression to occur can be days or just mere seconds. However, the best bet when you suspect an impending tread separation is to visit a professional and have the tire inspected.
3) Throttle Sticks
While a stuck throttle is a fairly uncommon occurrence for average drivers, it can occur. The most important thing a driver in this situation can do is to try to stop the car safely and quickly. A driver in this situation should immediately shift the car to neutral and apply the brake moderately. Don’t worry about the damage this may cause the engine, engine speed limiters on all modern cars prevent engine damage in this scenario.
If you can’t get the car to shift to neutral, shut it off, but only as the last resort. Shutting the car down will make it harder to steer, but you will still have reserve braking power to help you get the car stopped. Once you have managed to successfully stop the car, turn it off. Do not attempt to restart the vehicle, instead call a tow truck, and have the vehicle towed.
4) Vehicle Accelerates Suddenly
Sudden acceleration, also commonly referred to as unintended acceleration, is exactly the same as a stuck throttle. However, a stuck throttle is usually a mechanical failure and a sudden acceleration is usually contributed to driver error. The error is usually that the driver meant to apply the brake, and instead hit the gas pedal. If you are not sure whether it is a true stuck throttle or a driver induced sudden acceleration, apply the same stopping techniques as you would in a stuck throttle situation.
5) Two Wheels Drop off the Shoulder
While dropping two wheels off the road may sound like a terrible situation, it is actually the easiest of the five scenarios to survive. The best technique to apply in this situation is to take your time getting back on the pavement. Trying to get back on the road too soon could result in you shooting out into traffic or across several lanes of traffic. Begin by slowly removing pressure from the gas pedal. Try not to hit the brakes unless you absolutely have to. For instance, if you are careening down a huge hill, or there is a gigantic tree in your way, you are going to want to hit the brakes. However, if there is no immediate danger or obstacle stay away from braking. Once you have allowed the car to slow down to 35 or 40 mph, you can gently turn the wheel. However, make sure to not turn the wheel more than 5 degrees. If you find that you must turn the wheel more than 5 degrees, let the car slow down more before trying to get back on the road.
Applying the above driving survival techniques in any of the suggested scenarios will help you reduce your chances of an accident, even in uncommon or dangerous situations.
Featured photo credit: Car Crash via Shutterstock