Survival Skills: How to Survive 4 Major Malfunctions While Driving

Most folks love their vehicle—especially when they still have that new car smell. But sometimes, due to situations beyond our … Continued

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Photograph by Chris Yarzab, via Flickr

Most folks love their vehicle—especially when they still have that new car smell. But sometimes, due to situations beyond our control, that affection isn’t requited. In fact, our beloved vehicles may actually try to kill us. These vehicular nightmares can take a variety of forms, and any one of the following malfunctions can send our sweet ride careening out of control. Use upcoming the tricks to survive, if these things ever happen to you.

For all these following situations, make sure you keep calm. You’d only have seconds to react if your brakes were out, the gas petal stuck or a tire blew out at high speed. The solutions for each of these failures involve two constants and one variable. The constants are that you STAY CALM and hit your hazard flashers. This is a tall order for a near crisis situation like these, but keeping a cool head will keep you thinking on your feet and the hazard flashers will warn nearby motorists that you are having a problem. Now for the variables. Each solution depends on the unique automotive problem.

1. Beat a blowout
If a tire blows violently, don’t jerk the steering wheel. Maintain course and decrease speed gradually, while looking for a spot to pull off the road.

2. Fix a stuck gas pedal
If the gas pedal sticks, try kicking the side of the pedal with the side of your foot. If that doesn’t help, take the vehicle out of gear and use your brakes to coast to a stop.

3. Stop with broken brakes
If the brakes fail, use the emergency brake (parking brake). Depress the pedal or pull the lever as hard as you can. Give it a few seconds, and if the speed isn’t decreasing, then look for a “soft” place to ditch the vehicle. Downshifting can also slow the vehicle a bit too.

4. Survive a car crash
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and non-natural-caused death in the U.S. More than 2.5 million drivers and passengers are treated in emergency departments each year as the result of being injured in motor vehicle collisions. There are no guaranteed techniques to survive all crashes, but there are a few things that will help.

—Wear a seatbelt
—Drive the speed limit
—Drive a safer car
—Eliminate loose objects in the vehicle cabin
—Eliminate distractions which could cause the crash in the first place

Have you survived a serious vehicular malfunction? Let us know what happened by leaving a comment.