An emergency is an unexpected, dangerous situation requiring immediate action. In an emergency, drivers have to make big decisions in record time. Being prepared for an emergency while driving may save your life and the lives of others. So, how do drivers cope with emergencies, and what should you do in these top 10 driving emergencies?
Basic Road Safety Tips
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Follow traffic laws, but be aware that others may disobey
- Stay alert at all times
- Stock your car with a basic emergency kit. You can never be over-prepared for a driving emergency
- Keep weather conditions in mind when you’re driving. Heavy rain or wind on the road may require extra precautionary measures
- The sad truth is that even safe drivers can get into car accidents. Be responsible, conscious of your surroundings, and practise safe driving habits
What is the Most Common Type of Driving Emergency?
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1.3 million people die every year due to road traffic accidents. Since driving emergencies can easily lead to accidents, you must know how to respond in various dangerous scenarios.
How Do You Handle Emergencies?
To help keep you safe on the road, we’ve listed ten of the most common driving emergencies and how to handle each situation.
1. Swerving Car or Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is a driving emergency that occurs on wet and even slightly damp roads. Your vehicle’s tires begin to ride on top of the water instead of the road’s surface, causing your car to swerve uncontrollably.
- It’s essential to take your foot off the accelerator when this happens
- Avoid hitting the brakes at all costs! Sudden braking may cause a complete loss of control over the vehicle
- Instead, gently turn your steering wheel in the direction the rear wheels are hydroplaning until you can regain control
- Remain as calm as you can for the tires to reconnect with the road’s surface
- It may be wise to pull over after you’ve regained control of the vehicle to calm your nerves
2. Blown Tyres
A tyre/tire blowout or loss of a wheel while driving can be extremely dangerous. Here’s what to do in this scenario:
- Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, steering the car straight ahead
- Release the accelerator without braking immediately
- Once the vehicle is under control again, brake gently
- Pull over to the side of the road and call for assistance
3. Stuck Accelerator
You have a driving emergency when the heel of a flip-flop, your floor mat, or another object slides your car’s accelerator pedal in place. When this happens:
- Lightly jiggle the pedal with your foot to dislodge the object
- Shift your car into neutral
- Once you’re in neutral, repeatedly tap your brakes to slow down
- The flashing of your taillights will grab other drivers’ attention
- Pull over on the side of the road and call for assistance
4. Failed Brakes
When brake pads wear out completely or overheat severely, you may lose all braking ability. So, if you notice your brakes screeching, it’s wise to have your brake pads changed immediately.
Should your brakes fail, however, keep pumping your brake pedal. If that doesn’t slow your vehicle down, downshift or shift into neutral. This way, you’ll slowly lose speed until you come to a complete stop.
If you lack an open road or space, you’ll have to engage the parking brake gently. A sudden jerk could cause you to lose control of the vehicle, so take care.
Steer your car against a guardrail or curb to slow your speed if all else fails. While this will cause significant damage to your vehicle, it may end up saving your life!
5. Locked Steering Wheel
On the rare occasion that your steering wheel locks up while driving due to a steer linkage issue, shift your car into neutral, then back into drive. If this doesn’t unlock the wheel, do what you can to bring the vehicle to a complete stop on the side of the road. Then, call for assistance.
6. Overheated Engine in Heavy Traffic
A problem with your car’s cooling system could lead to your vehicle overheating. When this happens amid heavy traffic, turning up the heater in your car may allow some excess heat to escape the engine into the car’s interior.
While this can be highly uncomfortable for passengers, it will buy you more time to pull over on the side of the road. Once you’ve pulled over, allow your engine to cool down for at least half an hour before replacing fluids to avoid burning yourself.
7. Emergency or Panic Braking
Sudden, unpredictable situations, like a pedestrian crossing a busy road unexpectedly or luggage falling from the vehicle in front of you, require emergency braking. When you need to apply the brakes, remember the following:
- Move away from traffic as far as possible.
- Aim to stop where all the other vehicles can see you.
- Turn on your hazard lights as soon as you realise you have to stop.
- To indicate an emergency, place emergency triangles behind your vehicle and lift the hood once you’ve stopped.
8. Oncoming Vehicle in Your Lane
How can I stop an oncoming car? Well, you can’t.
If an oncoming vehicle cuts into your lane, flash your high beams and sound your horn immediately. Look into your side mirror and steer towards the free side of the road in your lane. Create as much space as possible between your vehicle and the oncoming one to avoid a head-on collision.
9. Running Off the Road
Most serious accidents are caused by vehicles running off the road. If you find yourself with two wheels off the road, remove your foot from the accelerator and, keeping the steering wheel straight, allow the vehicle to slow on its own back onto the road.
10. Cracked Windscreen
If your windshield cracks or shatters while driving, remain calm. Steer your car off the road and out of traffic, and call for assistance or mobile windscreen replacement. Take care not to drive a vehicle with a broken windshield, especially if it’s obstructing your view of the road. Rather stay safe and make the necessary windscreen crack repairs, as car window replacement or car window repair may very well avoid dangerous accidents. Here’s a quick guide to help you claim for car window damage through your insurance.
H2: Stay Safe with Dean’s Autoglass
Specialising in car glass repair, Dean’s Autoglass lowers windscreen replacement costs. We trust that you’ll stay safe on the road by being prepared for these ten emergencies. Remember to remain calm and drive wisely! Contact us today for all your windscreen repair, replacement and window tinting needs.