Have you ever been driving on the parkway and seen a car on the shoulder of the parkway with the hood up, smoke coming from the engine? Or missing a tire? Or a car engulfed in flames? No doubt being an eyewitness to these incidents makes a person driving more cautiously, even if the cautiousness is temporary. But, if you suddenly encounter one of these emergency situations, how should you react? Are there steps that can be taken to help you stay safe? Yes there are.
First and foremost, keep calm. When experiencing an emergency on the road, the worst reaction is to panic and slam on the brakes. This reaction can cause the worst outcome. Discussed below are several possible driving emergencies and the Do’s and Don’ts of each situation.
Tire blowout and loss of a tire. A telltale sign of an impending blowout (bursting tire) and loss of a tire (e.g. tire falling off an axel) is a thumping sound. If you hear this thumping noise, find the first available safe place to pull off the road and check your tires. However, if a blowout or loss of a tire occurs before you can do so,
DO: slowly let off the gas pedal while holding the steering wheel tightly.
DON’T: apply the brakes until you have control of your vehicle.
Steering failure. Although highly unlikely, a steering wheel failure can render steering nearly impossible or impossible. If this happens,
DO: take your foot off the gas pedal slowly, then turn on your hazard lights. Try your best to pull the car off the road to a safe location.
DON’T: use your brakes until your car has slowed to a speed where it is safe to apply the breaks. This is because you can lose control of your car when there is a sudden change in speed.
Brake failure. When suddenly your breaks do not work, there are steps that can be taken to help safely slow your car to a stop.
DO: pump your brakes. If this does not help, use your emergency brake in a smooth controlled manner.
DON’T: pull hard on the emergency brake. Doing so could cause you to lose control of your car.
Headlight Failure. Although loss of this function does not seem important, headlights keep a driver safe. Headlights are the mechanism in which other cars can see you on the road. When headlights fail,
DO: try the other lights on your car, like emergency, parking, and signal lights. Pull off the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
DON’T: try to drive to your destination with no lights.
Stuck gas pedal. This can be a huge problem not only because of uncontrolled speed, but also because traffic may pose a huge risk to harm or loss of life. If your gas pedal gets stuck,
DO: attempt to free the stuck gas pedal with your foot by hooking your shoe underneath the pedal and trying moving it. Next, shift the car into neutral and gently apply the brakes while steering the car to safety.
DON’T: turn off the ignition of the car. This could create the additional problem of losing steering ability.
Running off the paved road. Driving off the paved road is dangerous and can cause great harm to yourself and others. If you ever find yourself in this position,
DO: calmly move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal and gently slow your car.
DON’T: overreact and jerk your car back onto the road. This could cause an overcorrection and loss of control of your vehicle.
The previous scenarios have only covered a partial list of potential emergencies. The common theme is to remain calm and not overreact in an attempt to fix the situation. Reviewing the correct reaction can help in real life situations. Vehicle traffic law covers vehicle conditions with the intent of proactively avoiding emergency situations through maintenance.
Have you been ticketed for the condition of your vehicle and want to fight the ticket? Contact traffic attorney Elisa Claro, Esq. at 917 300-3334 or online. Traffic lawyer Elisa Claro, Esq. has handled thousands of various traffic and vehicle tickets throughout New York State, including Westchester County. Hire the best defense possibly by calling her today.