Like any machine, cars are full of parts that can break, fail or malfunction. In some cases, failure of a vehicular component can leave drivers facing a world of potentially-fatal problems.
Are you prepared if disaster strikes at the wheel? Here’s a look at how to maximize your chances of survival in some of the deadliest worst-case scenarios.
A malfunction with your throttle keeps the pedal stuck to the floor after passing another vehicle. Panic sets in as your vehicle piles on speed dangerously.
Forget turning off the engine or braking, and get the vehicle into neutral instead. This takes about half a second and decouples the driveline from the wheels. In neutral, your vehicle will be unable to accelerate, no matter how hard the throttle is pressed. In this situation, the sound of your engine revving at maximum RPM can sound intimidating — though that's the least of your worries.
Once in neutral, signal, brake, and coast to the side of the road. Then, kill the engine and assess the problem. Practice putting your gear selector into neutral, so you’re ready if the need arises. Teach your kids, too.
You’re travelling the highway when you suddenly hear a loud noise and realize you can’t see. A piece of ice became dislodged from another vehicle's roof and has penetrated your windshield — sending glass shards into your eyes. You’re completely blind, and your vehicle is little more than a projectile.
Ian Law is the president and chief instructor of the ILR Car Control School. He’s been teaching drivers of all ages advanced safe driving techniques for years — and recommends a pre-emptive approach to successfully tackling a catastrophic non-visibility situation.
“Any motorist who considers themselves a good driver will have been focused on their driving and the situation before the incident. This is called “situational awareness,” and it involves processing all driving information so that the driver knows at all times what is around them — and where. Pilots practice this when flying and it saves lives”.