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First, don’t panic. You have a better chance of handling the emergency safely if you do not let fear take over.

Here is what to do in various emergency situations:

TIRE BLOWOUT -. If a tire blows out, hold the steering wheel firmly, and ease your foot off the gas pedal. If your vehicle skids, handle it as you would on ice or snow. Do not use your brake until your vehicle is under control. Get off the road as soon as it safe to do so.

LOSS OF A WHEEL - Handle this as you would a blowout. A thump or clunk in the wheel may be a warning sound. Pull off the roadway and stop. Then check your vehicle or have it checked.

STEERING FAILURE - If your vehicle suddenly stops responding to the steering wheel, ease your foot off the gas pedal, turn on your vehicle's four-way flashers and keep your foot off the brake pedal for as long as it is safe and practical. The vehicle's natural balance should allow it to continue going straight, but a sudden change in speed could spin it out of control. As the vehicle slows down, you may be able to brake very gently to bring it to a stop.

BRAKE FAILURE - If your brake pedal suddenly sinks to the floor, try pumping it to build up pressure. If that does not help, use your emergency or parking brake - but use it gently.

HEADLIGHT FAILURE - Try your vehicle's four-way flashers, parking lights and directional signals. These may still work and should give you enough light to get safely off the road.

RUNNING OFF THE PAVEMENT - If your wheels drift off the pavement onto the shoulder of the road, do not yank the steering wheel back. Ease your foot off the gas pedal, and brake gently. When your vehicle has slowed down, check for traffic behind you, then steer gently back onto the pavement.

VEHICLE APPROACHING HEAD-ON IN YOUR LANE - Slow down, pull over to the right and sound your horn to alert the other driver. Do not swing over to the left lane. If you do, the other driver may suddenly recover and pull back into that lane, too, causing a head-on collision.

GOING INTO WATER - Unfasten your seat belt and escape through a window. Opening a door would cause water to rush in, and the car could overturn on top of you.

If the vehicle sinks before you can get out, climb into the rear seat. An air pocket may form there as the weight of the engine pulls the vehicle down nose first. When the vehicle settles, take a breath and escape through a window. As you rise, air pressure will build in your lungs. Let it out in small breaths through your nose or lips as you surface. Do not hold your breath tightly or try to blow air out.

FIRE - If you see smoke come from under your vehicle's hood, pull off the road and park your vehicle. Turn off the ignition. Get away from the car and call the fire department. 

Posted 10:15 AM  View Comments

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