What to Do in Emergencies

Topic Progress:
  • Vehicle Failures

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    1. A BLOW OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A blow out is a rapid loss of tire inflation (explosion or reaction to driving over an object).
    The vehicle will pull to the side of the tire that deflates
    What To Do:
    1. Maintain Speed – DO NOT BRAKE!
    2. Grip steering wheel tightly to keep vehicle on straight line
    3. Turn on the hazard lights
    4. When in control, ease off accelerator
    5. Check traffic and select a safe path
    6. Change lanes to move off roadway as far as possible to change tire

    Prevention: Check tire wall and tire tread each time you approach vehicle, check tire inflation regularly and replace worn, bulging or cracked tires.

  • 2. ACCELERATOR PEDAL STICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    When you release the gas pedal and the car remains at the same speed or continues to accelerate, the accelerator control is stuck.
    A broken spring or engine mount, a sticking linage, a crumpled floor mat or ice around the pedal can cause this problem.
    What to do:
    If you MUST stop:
    1. Apply and maintain pressure on the brakes
    2. Shift to neutral
    3. Turn off ignition switch
    4. Turn on the hazard lights

    If you DO NOT have to stop:
    1. Try to free pedal with right foot, but DO NOT look
    2. Activate the hazard lights
    3. Shift nuetral
    4. Check traffic and select a safe path and steer off the road
    5. Apply brakes in continuous manner
    6. Turn off ignition switch

    Prevention: Check floor mates and pedals, lubricate accelerator cable, and have accelerator control checked if their is any abnormality.

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    Usually one light will burn out; however, both headlights can fail due to dimmer switch failure, a blown fusible link, a relay failure or a short circuit.
    What to do:
    1. Turn on the hazard lights, if possible
    2.Reduce speed
    3. Maintain your lane position using the image of the roadway that you remember
    4. Turn the headlight and dimmer switches on and off several times
    5. If lights start to function, proceed to the nearest service station
    6. If lights do not turn on, check traffic and select a safe path
    7. Change lanes and move off of highway
    8. Install flares, a lantern or reflectors if you cannot stop in a lit area

  • 4. HOOD FLIES UP!!!

    While driving, the hood pops open. Stop the vehicle in a safe place, open the hood and re-close it.
    If it flies up blocking your forward vision, it may fold against the roof and/or crack windshield. The cause is usually an improperly closed hood as engineers design vehicles with a double lock to prevent the hood from flying up.

    What to do:
    1. Maintain your forward vision – look through space between hood and the dash, or lean to left and look past the side of the hood
    2. Turn on the hazard lights
    3. Reduce speed while maintaining lane posiiton
    4. Check traffic and select a safe path
    5. Park in a safe location
    6. Close or tie down hood firmly
    7. Drive slowly to the nearest service station and check the hood frequently
    Prevention: Lubricate the hood lock, and check that the hood is securely latched when you close it.

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    While driving the wipers may stop or won’t start working when switch is activated.
    The cause could be a defective switch, burnt fuse or burnt wiper linkage
    What to do:
    1. Turn on the hazard lights
    2. Reduce speed
    3. Turn the switch on and off a few times
    4. Check traffic and select a safe path and steer off the roadway
    5. Park in a safe location
    6. If problem can not be corrected on the spot and poor weather conditions continue, have your vehicle towed.
    Prevention; Never use wipers to clear the windshield after a snowfall, freezing rain or when it is dry. Have wipers checked and repaired as soon as they operate abnormally.


    The engine of your vehicle stops suddenly while driving. Mechanical failure, empty fuel tank, water oor cold are the normal causes of this situation.
    What to do:
    1. Shift to neutral
    2. Turn on the hazard lights
    3. Activate the starter using the ignition switch several times
    4. If engine restarts, shift to the appropriate gear, accelerate and turn off hazard lights
    5. If the engine does not restart, check traffic choose a safe path, and steer off the roadway or near the curb
    6. Apply brakes with continuous pressure until you stop
    7. Park in a safe location
    Power steering becomes more difficult to turn when the engine stalls, grip the steering wheel firmly and you can control the vehicle.
    Power brakes work normally for one more application when the engine stalls. Apply the brakes in one continuous application without releasing
    Prevention: Follow the recommended service intervals in your owner’s manual. Check the fluid levels everytime you refuel. Allow the engine extra time to warm-up in extreme cold conditions before driving in heavy traffic. Avoid, when possible, puddles and splashing.

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    Should the engine stall, try to coast over the tracks, or perform an emergency stop before the tracks.
    What to do:
    1. Check if a train is or is not approaching
    2. If a train is approaching, get all occupants out of vehicle and move atleast 30 metres away from the tracks
    3. If a train is not approaching, try to restart engine
    4. Shift to neutral and push the vehicle off the tracks



    The gauge or indicator light shows the engine temperature is rising above the normal level. This may occur in slow-moving traffic or due to a mechanical defect in the cooling system. Lengthen your stopped distance from the preceding vehicle, activate the heater in the hot position with the fan on high, shift to neutral and rev the engine slightly.
    If the temperature should not return to the normal range:
    1. Check traffic, select safe path and steer onto shoulder or near curb.
    2. Park in a safe place, turn off engine
    3. Turn on the hazard lights
    4. Cover hand with cloth or gloves and open hood
    5. Check hoses, belts, etc.
    6. If coolant level is low or empty, get a container of water
    7. Unlock the cap and allow the pressure to be released, add some water slowly
    8. Restart engine and fill the radiator as needed
    9. Close the cap and proceed to the nearest service centre to check cooling system
    Prevention: Proper maintenance of the cooling system as outlined in Lesson 19


    Though very rare, if you lose steering control completely, a breakdown in the front suspension or steering is the reason.
    What to do:
    1. Turn on hazard lights
    2. Shift to neutral, hold the parking brake release and pump the parking brake firmly to reduce speed quickly
    3. Be prepared for collision as you cannot control the direction in which the vehicle will move
    Prevention: Steering and suspension will not breakdown without warning. Any abnormal looseness, shimmy, wandering or noises should be seen by a service technician. Follow the recommended service intervals in owner’s manual.


    Complete service brake failure is rare in modern vehicles as they have a dual braking system (lesson 20).
    Should one fail, the other will stop your vehicle and a warning light will advise you of a problem. Partial or temporary brake failure can cccur due to lack of brake fluid, overheating, wet brakes, V-belt failure, etc.
    What to do:
    1. Downshift to use the engine compression
    2. Pump brake pedal several times
    3. Turn on hazard lights
    4. Pump the parking brake while releasing the lock mechanism
    5. Select a safe path while slowing
    If none of these permit you to stop, look for an uphill slope, gaurd rail or curb to further reduce speed.
    Prevention: Check brake fluid level monthly, have brakes verified by service technician at recommended intervals and verify the proper operation of the parking brake by using it every time you park.

  • 11. FIRE

    Vehicle fires rarely occur, but when they do, you must act quickly to minimize danger to people and property.
    While driving, if you see or smell smoke in the passenger compartment, ashtray, under dash or under hood, your vehicle has a fire.
    What to do:
    1. Turn on hazard lights
    2. Select a safe path and move vehicle out of traffic flow
    3. Park away from crowds, vehicles and buildings
    4. Turn off the ignition
    5. All occupants should move atleast 30 metres from the vehicle
    If the source is a:
    Cigarette or match (don’t over-react, when stopped locate the cigarette or match and put it out)
    Ashtray fire (close ashtray while driving, when pared remove the ashtray and extinguish the fire outside the vehicle)
    Under the hood (once vehicle is stopped, have someone call the fire department immediately)
    Under the dash (this is an electrical fire, call fire department immediately)


    a. Tires Drop of Pavement
    What to do:

    1. Grip the steering wheel firmly
    2. Stabilize the vehicle parallel to pavement
    3. Ease of accelerator and allow the vehicle to reduce speed
    4. Check traffic, mirrors, and blind spot
    5. Activate the left turn signal, turn steering wheel a quarter turn towards the roadway
    6. When right wheel climbs the edge, countersteer towards the centre of the lane to stabilize vehicle
    7. Accelerate and turn off the signal

    b. Avoiding an obstacle
    What to do:
    1. Apply the brake to perform an emergency stop
    2. Turn on hazard lights
    3. Select a safe path around the object (avoid crossing the centre line), look and steer in desired direction
    4. Ease up on the brake to allow full steering input to direct your vehicle in chosen direction
    5. Stabilize your vehicle
    6. Check traffic and return to your lane

  • 936c. Skids
    When a wheel or wheels slide against the roadway due to insufficient traction, the vehicle is skiding.
    Braking Skid (no ABS)
    Excessive brake pressure locks the front wheels.
    What to do:
    1. Release the brake pedal
    2. Look and steer in the desired direction
    3. Reapply the brake more gently to continue reducing speed

    Steering Skid (underwater)
    A sharp turn of the steering wheel and your vehicle continues straight.
    What to do:
    1. Unwind the steering wheel slightly to regain steering control
    2. Re-establish front wheel traction, jab the brake pedal to shift vehicle weight towards the front
    3. Look and steer in the desired direction

    Rear Wheel Skid (oversteer)
    The rear wheels slide and the rear of your vehicle moves to the right or left
    What to do:
    1. Ease off the pedal
    2. Look and steer in the desired direction
    As you straighten from the skid, the rear of your vehicle may begin to slide in the opposite direction.
    3. Keep targeting your path of travel
    4. Steer quickly and smoothly to direct your vehicle where you are looking


    accident had two carsRear-End Collision
    While stopped at an intersection, you notice an oncoming car from behind and it does not seem to be able to stop in time.
    What to do:
    1. Check traffic and select an “out” (turn right, cross intersection or climb the curb)
    If there is no safe out
    2. Ease up on the brakes to allow a little forward movement
    3. Brace your head and body against the headrest and seat using the dead pedal
    4. On impact, re-apply the brakes fully

    Accident with two carsHead On Collision
    This is the worst crash as the force of impact is the highest.
    What to do:
    1 .Begin an emergency stop (slower speeds reduces the impact)
    2. Signal with your horn and headlights



    When Approached from the Rear
    What to do:
    1. Check traffic, and select a safe path
    2. Change lanes to the right side of the road
    3. Slow down, wait for the vehicle to pass
    4. Safely proceed on your way
    5. Follow atleast 150 metres behind
    If a collision is inevitable, choose objects that will give on impact or sideswipe rather than hit directly.

    Meeting an oncoming vehicle
    What to do:
    1. Check traffic and select a safe path
    2. Change lanes to the right
    3. Slow your vehicle, wait for emergency vehicle to pass
    4. Proceed safely

    If stopped at an intersection
    What to do:
    1. Check the position of the emergency vehicle in your rear-view mirror
    2. Remain stationary until it passes


    Electrical wires contact your vehicle
    What to do:
    1. Remain in your vehicle, turn on hazard lights and turn off the ignition
    2. Advise people not to touch the vehicle
    3. Wait for qualified assistance
    If a fire breaks out and you must leave vehicle, be sure to jump out as far from the car as possible and land on both feet. Make sure not to contact car and road at the same time.

    Immersion in water
    What to do:
    1. Occupants should unfasten their seat belt
    2. Open the window that is farthest out of the water
    3. Leave the vehicle to avoid being pulled down by the wake of the sinking vehicle
    If vehicle sinks, air will be trapped in the highest part of the vehicle. Float in the vehicle, get a couple of deep breaths, open the door nearest the air pocket and leave the vehicle.

    Wasp, Bees or other insects
    What to do:
    1. Roll down your window
    2. Select a safe path and park (if the bug has not exited the vehicle)
    3. Shoo the bug out of the vehicle