10 Scary Driving Scenarios and Exactly How to Handle Them
Often when driving, we encounter situations that are out of our control. Make the right decisions when in a tight spot with these tips.
You’re at a four-way stop
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Whoever arrives at the stop sign first has the right of way, says David Nunn, Land Rover Experience Manager. When you and another driver pull up to different points of the intersection at seemingly the exact same time, yield to the driver on the right. This isn’t that crazy of a driving scenario, but here are the crazy things people have done while driving.
The stoplight just turned yellow
If the light turns yellow as you’re approaching an intersection, use your judgment to determine the best course of action. Never go through a yellow light if you think you can stop safely before the light turns red.
If a deer jumps in front of your car…
While it’s natural to be momentarily overcome with terror, do your best to stay calm. “Keep both hands securely on the wheel, apply the brakes firmly, and never swerve,” Nunn says. (He recommends using a “shuffle steer,” where you shuffle your hands along the steering wheel, even when you turn, versus taking one hand off to rotate the wheel to maintain maximum control of your vehicle.) Swerving in an attempt not to hit an animal is dangerous because you could hit a car in the neighboring lane or run off the road right into a tree.
If the sun is blinding you…
Try to limit your reaction as much as possible. Don’t slam on the brakes or swerve, as this could pose a danger to both yourself and other drivers around you. Do your best to continue on your path and remain predictable to other drivers. This is just one of the things they should teach in Driver’s Ed, like these driving etiquette rules you’ve probably forgotten since you took the class.
When another driver is tailgating your car…
If a car behind you is tailgating and honking, pull over and let it by; it may be a legitimate emergency. If a car is tailgating you on the highway for no apparent reason, pull over to the right-hand lane as soon as it’s safe for you to do so and let the driver pass. Even when it’s not your “fault,” it is unsafe to travel with another vehicle at such close proximity.
If you spot an impaired driver ahead
If the car ahead of you is swerving and the driver appears to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, give him plenty of room and do not tailgate. Pay close attention, but don’t fixate on the vehicle. If it’s safe for you to do so while driving, note the car’s license plate and call 911 to report the issue.
If there’s an approaching tornado
While your instinct may be to pull over under an overpass to wait it out, you may still be potentially exposed to the dangers of flying debris. If traffic is light, try driving out of the tornado’s path by moving at a right angle away from the vortex. If not, park and make your way inside a sturdy building. If you’re in open country, exit the car and try to get as far from any trees, cars, or other large structures and lie face down, covering your head with your arms, and make sure you know these things you should never do during an emergency.
If the road is blocked by water…
The only way to know if you’re about to drive through a shallow puddle or several feet of water is to get out of your car and test it with a stick, Nunn says. In general, you shouldn’t drive through water that’s more than four inches high, or you could risk flooding your engine or damaging the many electronic elements of your vehicle. (Although if you have an SUV or vehicle designed for off-roading, you can likely drive through deeper water.) Also, you should never drive through moving water as your car could suddenly be swept away. If you do ascertain that you can drive through the water, let any oncoming cars go by first, then drive slowly and steadily on through. Check out these maintenance tips that can extend the life of your car.
When there’s an oncoming car in your lane…
When a car is coming straight toward you in your lane, try to get the driver’s attention by honking and flashing your lights, while planning a way to avoid a direct hit. Don’t stare at the oncoming vehicle, as your car will follow your line of sight. Instead, look where you want to go, be it a lane over or the shoulder.
To outsmart a carjacker…
When getting into your car at night, be alert to your surroundings. Have your keys in your hand before you approach your vehicle and unlock the door when you’re a step or two away (not before, when someone else could hop in and not after when someone could wrest the keys from you as you pause to unlock the door). When you do open the door, get in quickly and close and lock the door immediately behind you—don’t take the time to adjust your belongings or rely on automatic locks. If you’ve gotten in your car to discover a carjacker waiting, get out as fast as possible. If a carjacker has reached from the back seat to cover your mouth, take one finger and peel it backward as hard as you can. Hopefully, this will break the perpetrator’s finger and buy you some time to make a quick escape. Now, learn the winter driving mistakes that could put you in danger.
[Sources: autoblog.com, parents.com]