The What-to-Do Car Basics
Lots of things can make for dangerous driving conditions, but proper maintenance on your car can help your car from becoming one of those dangerous factors.
Car Tire Blowout
Front tire blowouts are dangerous because of how they interfere with the steering of the car. When this happens you might hear an explosive boom followed by the vehicle veering suddenly to the side where the tire has blown-out.
Here are some tips to remember to regain control:
- Take your foot off the gas pedal. This will give the car a chance to slow down
- Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands. You can expect the car will be difficult to steer
- Once you have gained control of the steering, slowly apply the brake and avoid locking the wheels.
- Try to come to a gradual and complete stop off of the roadway so that you can change the tire safely.
Brake Failure in Your Car
Here are some tips if your brakes fail:
- Attempt to slow the vehicle by downshifting
- Gently apply your parking brake, remembering that this is a cable brake. The rear wheels can lock if you apply too much force, thus causing the vehicle to potentially pull to one side.
- Pump the brake pedal rapidly. This might help build up pressure in the brake lines, thus restoring some braking force.
- If you have to collide with something, try to choose the “softer” object and try to avoid head-on collisions - sideswipe whatever you hit.
- If travelling at slow speeds, turn off the engine. This will allow the vehicle to coast to a stop.
Animals in the Road
Some things, such as animals in the road are unavoidable, but if you encounter an animal running into the road, do the following:
- Try to gauge your reaction by the size of the animal and how fast you are going.
- Try to avoid the animal by slowing or swerving. But it is better to hit a small animal (dog, cat, rabbit) than lose control of the vehicle.
- In rural areas, a common cause of automobile accidents is encountering large animals on the roadway. Hitting a large animal (horse, deer, and cow) will have an impact that feels equal to hitting another vehicle. Remove your foot from the gas pedal. Steer the vehicle in the opposite direction from where the animal is heading and be prepared for the animal to stop suddenly. Don’t jam on the brake. Try to keep all steering wheel and brake motions smooth.
- Be alert for owners who may run after the animal.
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