Thursday, June 26, 2014

Top 5 Driving Emergencies

When we first get behind the wheel, we expect everything to go as planned, for us to get to our destination on time with no mishaps. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While pilots must demonstrate expertise in responding to emergency situations, the typical automobile driver undergoes no such training; oftentimes, the first time they are forced to respond are during life-threatening situations. Here are 5 driving emergencies that relate to tire/acceleration errors and how to respond to them safely and efficiently.

1) Tire Blowout
When people first hear the pop of a tire blowout, most people tend to instinctively slam on the breaks and get off the road, which is actually likely to result in a crash. Instead, you should lightly press on the gas pedal to gain control of the car and keep driving straight down the lane, allowing your car to coast until it reaches slow speed (about 30MPH). Only then should you gently turn towards the shoulder of the road that is on the same side as the blown tire. To prevent blowouts in the first place, be sure to check your tire pressures routinely.

2) Tread separation
The technique is similar to that of a blowout, but this situation is more dangerous because it can become audibly undetectable after the tread falls off, and because the steel-backed rubber is spinning at high speeds that can easily destroy and injure. If you experience a tread separation, lightly press on the gas pdeal, drive straight down the lane, allow the car to coast to a slow speed until you can turn to the shoulder of the road.

3) Stuck Throttle
If your engine is running uncontrollably, you should stop it immediately. Often this happens while pushing the brake, so you should release and put the transmission in neutral (or at least switch off the ignition).

4) Sudden Acceleration
This is similar to a stuck throttle except the problem lies not with mechanical failure, but with the driver accidentally stepping on the gas instead of the brakes. The correct response is the same as with a stuck throttle, so please see #3 above.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Top 4 Reasons You Get Pulled Over

We've all been in a situation where we're in a hurry to get to our final destination when, lo and behold, we see flashing lights behind us and get pulled over. It's easier to get pulled over than you think — keep these below five violations in mind the next time you hit the road.
  1. Speeding. This is dangerous for obvious reasons: the faster you go, the longer your reaction time to an unexpected situation, such as an upcoming pedestrian or sudden lane change from another car. Braking distances increase as well, increasing your chances of bumping into the car ahead of you without proper awareness.
  2. Distracting driving. The use of cell phones while driving was banned in several states due to the dangers of distracted driving, with the restrictions ranging from only texting to all use. Drive as though your life depended on it, because even that one second you take to send a text can mean the difference between life and death.
  3. Hazardous driving. The two most common are following too closely (slowing reaction time) and improper lane changes (cutting someone off, changing lanes without looking first, or failing to signal). This also includes stop sign and stoplight violations, improper lane changes, illegal U-turns, failures to yield, and unsafe speeds.
  4. Equipment violations. These include heavily tinted windows, burned-out headlights, broken windshields, expired tags, the lack of a front license plate (in California and some other states) and loud exhaust modifications.