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What To Do In Case Of A Driving Emergency


Drive long enough, and unfortunately, something will go wrong. Maybe not terribly wrong, but not every trip is going to be a smooth one.

Here are a few “what if…” scenarios and some recommendations on what can be done to deal with those situations.

What if… your car overheats. If the temperature gauge light has come on and you are in heavy traffic with no immediate place to turn, you might be able to keep your car going briefly if you turn on the heat full blast. That is certainly not ideal if it’s summer, but the idea is to take heat away from the engine in order to keep it cool.

If that doesn’t work, turn on your hazard warning lights, pull over as soon as you can, and turn off your engine. Have it towed to Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission of Cary as soon as possible so our professionals can inspect your vehicle to see what is happening.

Otherwise, if you don’t pull over and keep driving, your car will shut off and will not restart. That could be in the middle of the road or in a safe location on the side of the road. Once the high coolant temp light comes on you don’t have very much time to react. So, take no chances and get the car to the side of the road and in a safe place.

What if… you have a tire blow out. Every tire failure and traffic situation will be different, so it’s hard to say exactly what you should do. Your priority is to keep the vehicle under control and work toward a safe location off the road. Letting the vehicle coast as you get it under control is recommended. It is not considered a good idea to press the brakes. You want the car to slow down on its own, and the flat tire is helping you do that. Getting to a safe place, off the road is your first priority even if you risk damaging the wheel. Make sure you know how to turn the Hazard Lights on so other motorist know you are having an issue.  

What if… your car slides on ice. First, driving when there is a chance for ice on the roadway is something you should avoid, even if you have experience driving in wintery conditions. If you have to be out there and find your vehicle sliding on ice, every situation is different, and not all cars are alike, but generally, remember the following:

Don’t panic and slow your speed. As you can understand stopping distances increase dramatically, sometimes 5 to 10 times the normal. Sliding on ice is scary and can even be terrifying, but at this moment you need to be thinking clearly.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to not slam on the brakes. When the wheels are locked or even under the anti-lock system the car will not steer or at least will be very hard to steer.  Slamming on the brakes is instinctive but you can make things worse and can cause your car to further slide out of control.

If you have anti-lock brakes, however, if you keep your foot on the brake don’t pump the pedal. You may feel the brake pedal pulse back against your foot, but that’s a normal feeling with antilock brakes.

You will need to try to “turn into the slide.” In other words, if your car is drifting to the right, and the front of your car is pointing left, you’ll want to turn right to help straighten the car. That may feel instinctively wrong, but if you gently steer right, you can get your car back in the direction you intended. Gently and carefully steering, when you’re on ice, until you get control over your car, is the best recommendation.

What if… your gas pedal sticks. This can a rare occurrence, especially with newer cars, but if it does happen. What we have seen that happens is the floor mat can cause the gas pedal to stick. Make sure your floor mats have not shifted forward where they can interfere with the pedals. If it does happen to you, Experts suggest that you push the brake firmly with both feet and hold it down until you come to a stop.  If that isn’t working, also shift the car into neutral. As a last resort, you can turn off the engine, but that will make it very hard to steer and maintain control over your car.

What if… your brakes fail. This is luckily an extreme and rare situation.  This is the time to turn on the hazard lights, experts say, and you may need to use your horn. Switch to a lower gear, which will help the car slow down. If you have antilock brakes, and you’re continuing to try to get the brakes to work, press down on the brake firmly. If you have standard brakes, pump them, using short taps. You can also use the emergency brake because most of the time the emergency is mechanical and will still work even if your brakes fail. Be careful using the emergency brake as it controls only the back two tires and you don’t want to have these lock-up which could cause you to lose control.

At the first sign of any problems with your car, please remember to bring it to your nearest Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission of Cary to get it inspected.  We’ll inspect and service your car to help keep you and others safe on the roads.




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