Chapter 17 - Emergencies

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Emergencies
CHAPTER 17
17-1 Blowout & Flat Tires
 Blowout
 Sudden loss of air pressure in the tire
 New or old, tires can blowout at any time
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Pothole or sharp object in the road
Most blowouts are caused by excessive tire wear
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Average tires have a tread life of 60,000 miles
 The way you drive will determine how short the life of the tires get
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Hard cornering or braking
Driving in hot temperatures
Driving fast
Peeling out
Road surfaces
Over- or under- inflating
How to avoid a blowout
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Check tire pressure and tire tread
Rotate your tires
Responding to a Blowout
 Don’t slam on your brakes
 This is a natural reaction, but can cause you to completely lose
control
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Grip the wheel tightly and coast
 Concentrate on staying in your lane
 If one of your front tires blows out, the car will pull hard in the
direction of the blowout
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Steer away from the blown tire
If the back tires blow out, the car will weave like a skid
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Steer toward the blown tire
 Pull off the road
Flat Tires
 If your tire blows out, you have two choices…
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Call for help
Fix it yourself
 Make sure the area you are in is safe to change a tire

If you are too close to traffic, don’t attempt to change it
 It is not hard to fix a flat tire, most people just don’t
know how to do it or are not prepared
 Most newer vehicles come with the proper equipment,
but make sure you are prepared
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Spare tire (DUH!)
Car jack
Lug wrench
Fixing A Flat
 Park on level ground
 Put on your emergency flashers, put parking brake on, and
make sure passengers are out of the vehicle
 Put the jack under the vehicle and crank until the flat
tire is off the ground
 Remove the tire using the lug wrench

Take them off diagonally in succession
 Place the spare tire on the vehicle and replace the lug
nuts

Put them on diagonally in succession
 Lower the vehicle and its ready to go
Flat Tires
 On many vehicles, the spare tire is not full sized
 Spare tires are not designed for a lot of miles
 Spare tires can deteriorate from dry rotting or heat
 Replace the spare when you replace tires
17-2 Mechanical Failures
 Brake failures
 Most brakes do not fail…it could be a number
of causes
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Engine failure or interruption of the flow of brake
fluid can cause the power assist or full-power
feature of the brakes to fail
 Brakes will still work but you have to apply
much more pressure
Brake pads are totally worn out
 It takes time to wear out the brake pads, so
you will notice a gradual reduction in
effectiveness of your brakes
 If your brakes begin grinding, you failed, not
your brakes!
 Overheated brakes
 Going downhill on a long, steep descent, you
brakes can over heat, called brake fade
Mechanical Failures (cont.)
 Steering Failure

Most vehicles today have power steering
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Steering failure most commonly occurs from engine failure
 The steering wheel will turn, but is very difficult
If you try to turn the wheel and you can’t, your power steering has
completely failed

Stop the car and turn on your flashers
 Stalled Engine
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Can occur from water getting to the engine or excessively cold
weather, and also forgetting to put gas in the car
If it stalls while you are driving, try to start the vehicle
Put the vehicle in neutral and turn the ignition
 If it starts, shift to drive and continue
 If not, pull over
 Keep in mind, it may be difficult to steer
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Mechanical Failures (cont.)
 Stuck Accelerator
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Often caused by an obstruction on the floor in front of the driver’s seat, but
can also be caused by a mechanical problem with the vehicle
Try to free the accelerator with your foot by lifting up on the accelerator
pad
If that doesn’t work and you have a passenger, have them reach
underneath and pull up on the accelerator
If no passenger, shift to neutral and pull over

Do not turn the car off until you have come to a complete stop
 Headlight Failure
 Try flipping them off and on several times
 If that doesn’t work, try you high beams
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They usually use different bulbs, so they will work even when the low beams
do not
If neither work, turn on your flashers and pull over when it is safe to do
so
Mechanical Failures (cont.)
 Dead Battery

If you attempt to start your vehicle and hear nothing, your battery
may be dead
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Can be caused by
 Defective alternator
 Extremely cold weather
 Leaving your lights on
Jump-Starting Your Car
Attach the positive clip (red) to the positive terminal of the working
battery
 Attach the positive clip (red) to the positive terminal of the dead
battery
 Attach the negative clip (black) to the negative terminal of the working
battery
 “Ground” the other end of the negative clip (black) by attaching the
clip to the dead vehicle’s frame, metal engine block, of to an engine
bolt
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Mechanical Failures (cont.)
 Dead Battery (cont.)
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Once you have started your car, let it run for a few minutes
Remove the cable from both vehicles
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Negative first, then positive
Make sure the ends of the cables don’t touch
If your battery dies again, have it looked at by a mechanic
 Windshield Wiper Failure
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Over time, excessive heat or cold can cause your wiper blades to rot or crack
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Causes metal to contact and scratch the windshield
Can make visibility reduced
You may not be able to drive your vehicle if you cannot properly clear your windshield
 Hood Latch Failure
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Don’t slam on brakes
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Pull over to the side of the road
Check to see if it was not latched or if the latch is broken
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Put on your flashers
Look through the opening between the hood and the dashboard
Lean your head out the window if you have to
If it seems to be functioning, shut the hood and begin to drive…slowly
 In case the hood flies open again
It the latch is broken, use wire, cable, or rope to secure it
Take to a service station and have it fixed
17-3 Skids
 Skid
 Loss of directional control of a vehicle that occurs when a
vehicle loses traction
 Most likely to happen when driving at high speeds in bad
weather, on dirt or gravel roads, or on wet or icy pavement
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Can happen on dry surfaces and low speeds, but it depends on
conditions
Types of Skids
Power Skid
 Braking Skid
 Cornering Skid
 Downshifting Skid
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Types of Skids
 Power Skid
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Caused from accelerating too quickly especially on slick road surfaces
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Doing this with rear-wheel drive will cause the back end to skid to the
side
Ease off the gas when you feel the tires spin
Remember to accelerate slowly on slick roads or roads with poor
traction
 Braking Skid
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Caused by one or more of a vehicle’s brakes locking up
Can occur only in vehicles without anti-lock brakes
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More common on slippery roads
If your front wheels lock, you will plow straight ahead
If your back wheels lock, your vehicle may start to spin
If this happens, take your foot off the brake until your wheels start
spinning again
Types of Skids
 Cornering Skid
 Occurs when your vehicle loses traction on a curve
 Usually caused by driving too fast
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If roads are slippery or tires are worn, your chances increase
Take your foot off the gas and make steering adjustments to
straighten out
 Downshifting Skid
 Shifting from a high gear to a low gear too quickly
 Make sure you engage NEUTRAL each time you downshift
instead of moving straight to the lower gear
Responding to a Skid
 Your natural instinct will be to hit the brakes…avoid this!

Slamming on your brakes will only cause you to skid more
 Road conditions will determine how to respond to a skid:
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Skidding on dry surfaces – turn the wheel sharply in the appropriate
direction to correct the skid
Skidding on slippery surfaces – turn wheel slightly to bring vehicle
back under control
 Steps to Follow:
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Take foot off gas to decrease speed
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Don’t use brakes
Steer car gently in the direction of the skid
When the vehicle starts to straighten out, turn wheels back the other
way
“Spinning Out”
 Corrective steering will not work
 Brake hard
 ABS will engage all four tires
 Non Anti-lock vehicles will lock
 The vehicle will travel in a straight line in its general
direction of travel
17-4 Other Emergencies
 Not all emergencies are going to be caused by
mechanical failure or driver error
 Other emergencies you may encounter while driving
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Running out of fuel
Debris on the roadway
Deep water escapes
Downed power lines
Car fires
Car jacking
Police chases
Running Out of Fuel
 Doesn’t necessarily sound like an emergency, but it will
be if…
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Stranded on an isolated stretch of road
You are in an unsafe area
It happens during the night
Weather is hot, cold, or inclement weather
Middle of the freeway
 Odds are that it will happen at least once in your lifetime
 Don’t wait until your gas gauge reads “empty”
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Low levels differ between vehicles
Usually located in the owner’s manual
Good rule of thumb – no less than ¼ of a tank left before filling
Roadway Debris
 Occasionally you will encounter things in the road
Auto parts
 Pieces of tire
 Boxes
 Rocks
 Tree branches
 Furniture
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Avoid whenever possible, but don’t swerve
 If your windshield becomes obstructed by debris,
 Turn on wipers to knock it away
 Pull over and remove it if wipers cannot
Deep Water Escape
 Cars don’t float very well or for a long time
in water
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Do not remove seatbelts before entering deep
water
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Protection from impact if you fall off a bridge or other
elevated point
Go to the window that is highest out of the water
and try to open immediately
If it doesn’t open, try the door
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If your vehicle get trapped in deep water, you need to
get out fast
The pressure outside the door will hold it closed
As the water level rises inside the vehicle, pressure
will equalize and you can open the door
If it still doesn’t work, kick out a window
 Remain as calm as possible!
Downed Power Lines
 Avoid driving over downed power lines
 Don’t panic if they fall on top of your vehicle
 Tires will insulate you from any electrical shock
 Do not try to exit your vehicle
 Turn your emergency flashers on and try to alert
other drivers of the downed lines
Car Fires
 If you suspect your vehicle may be on fire,
pull over immediately
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Pick an area without people
 Turn off your ignition and get all people
inside the car out of the vehicle
 Move as far away as possible in case of a
fuel explosion
 If the fire is far away from the fuel tank
and is localized, you can try to put it out
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Do not use water
Try to smother the fire by throwing dirt, sand,
large blanket, or clothing onto it
Car Jacking
 People trying to steal other driver’s vehicles
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Choose a route that doesn’t go through a dangerous area
Try not to drive alone
Make sure your doors are always locked and windows shut
 Most likely, they will approach while you are moving
slowly or stopped
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Leave enough room in front of you and to the side so that you
can escape
Turn car off and lock doors any time you leave the vehicle
unattended
If your car breaks down, stay in the vehicle and lock the doors
 When parking…
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Stay in well-lit areas
Avoid walking to your vehicle alone
Have your keys ready in your hand
Inspect from the outside to see if anyone is hiding in the vehicle
 Most important thing to remember…
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If you are a victim or threatened with a weapon, give them what
they want
It is not worth your life

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