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Automotive Emergencies: Part 2

    We all know how important it is to have a basic knowledge of first aid in an emergency, but how many of you know first aid for an automotive emergency? This is part two of a three part series that will help you be prepared should you suffer a automotive break down.
» Part 1: Emergency Stops
» Part 2: Emergency Stops
» Part 3: Emergency Stops
» Part 4: Car Doesn't Work
» Part 5: Change A Flat Tire
» Part 6: Other Problems

Making Emergency Stops

In an emergency situation, there is no time to think, ask questions or RTFM. You will need to immediately know what to do. Hopefully you may gain that knowledge by reading these emergency methods I have listed below.

  1. You're driving down the road when one of your front tires blows out. Do NOT slam on the brakes. Apply gentle even pressure, as if you were coming to a stop sign, to the brakes. Then slowly pull off the road on a hard, level surface if at all possible.

  2. As Harry Chapin said in one of his songs "The pedal floored easily, without a sound..." You lost your brakes. If there is time, try to pump the brake pedal to get, at the very least, some brakes back. If there is no time, apply the parking brake firmly but slowly. You do not want the wheels to lock up.

    Another way to slow down is to down shift from DRIVE to SECOND to FIRST. You can also shift it into reverse. A transmission is a small price to pay to save your life and the lives of your kids in the back seat. Do not try to shift into PARK; it just won't go unless the vehicle is stopped.

    If all else fails, try sideswiping signposts, guard rails or trees and bushes to slow down. Be careful to not make a direct hit, which will probably cause injury or death.

  3. It's night and you are on one of the many unlit roads that are common in this country. Suddenly the lights go out and it is pitch dark. Do NOT slam on the brakes. Turn the hazard lights or turn signals on. Even those small lights will help you see where you're going. At the same time step on the brakes slowly and pull off the road. Don't panic, there will be plenty of time for that later.

    You have lots of time and space in which to come to a safe and complete stop, unless you are on a hairpin curve on the side of a mountain. Then you should place your head between your knees as far as it will go and kiss your ass goodbye.

  4. You are driving down Broadway in Manhattan and your steering locks up or goes out. Now, what is it we don't do? That's right. Do NOT slam on the brakes because the vehicle will probably swerve out of control. Apply the brakes slowly. Flip on the hazard flashers, blow your horn and wave your left arm frantically out of the window to warn other drivers. Get off the road as soon as possible.

  5. You need to come to a stop and your accelerator sticks. This is an easy one. Shut off the engine and shift into NEUTRAL. You'll lose power steering and power brakes, so turning and stopping will be more difficult. Once you have stopped and are safely on the side of the road, you can try to fix the problem if you can.

    Try lifting the gas pedal with your hand or foot. Sometimes a stuck pedal is as simple as a floor mat that slid forward and is jamming the gas pedal. A lot of times a stuck pedal is caused by broken springs or binding linkages. If you can't find and repair the problem, no not drive the car. Call a tow truck and have your vehicle taken to the repair shop.

Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5       » Part 6
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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