Do you know how to handle common unexpected driving situations on the road safely? Don’t panic because we’ve got you covered.
If you’ve been driving for a while, you know that anything can happen while behind the wheel. Wildlife can cause gridlock, you may suddenly fall sick, or your tire may burst. It could even be a serpent slithering from the trunk underneath your car to the cabin.
Whatever the case, you must be quick to react. Stay calm because panicking can easily jeopardize your safety and other road users. Here’s a list of every day but unexpected driving situations and how to handle each well.
Let’s go through them.
Top 7 Common Unexpected Driving Situations and How to Handle Them
1. Low Visibility Due To Fog, Oncoming Headlights, and More
Low visibility issues often result in fatal road accidents. The best you can do is to avoid driving in any condition that compromises visibility. But what happens when you have no choice but to drive? It is simple. Don’t slam on the brake pedals if you can’t find a safer solution.
Brake moderately until your car slows down to a safer speed. As you do this, point your eyes down and try to focus on the solid white line by the roadside. Be sure to turn your high beams off, as the bright light they emit will reflect off the fog and reduce visibility even further.
To be safe, ensure you have increased your following distance. The driver ahead of you may brake suddenly without you noticing, leading to a crash. You should also be ready to stop by being alert that anything may happen.
Furthermore, turn your car’s headlights and taillights to bring visibility and alert to all the drivers around you.
2. Snow, Rain, Hail, or Sleet
There isn’t much you can do about inclement weather conditions. Your only solution here is to avoid speeding. That’s because any road covered in water, snow, or ice reduces traction. As such, chances of skidding, sliding, or spinning out increase. Slow down and drive at a safe speed. It doesn’t matter if everyone else on the road is speeding.
Remember that road surfaces become incredibly slick during the first half-hour of a heavy rainstorm. This is because of oil and dirt on the road mixing with water. Hail and sleet are characteristically icy, so slow down would be in your best interest. If possible, avoid driving in these conditions altogether.
Snowy roads are dangerous. Follow the visible tire tracks and trails ahead of you as you drive. Be sure to keep your tires inside the treads to increase traction. Then, by all means, avoid changing lanes as snow builds up between lanes. This creates slick spots where you can quickly lose traction.
Turn off the music and roll down the window. That way, you’ll be able to hear lurking dangers that you may not necessarily see. Skidding vehicles, honking, and accidents are examples of such hazards.
Rolling down the windows will also reduce the condensation inside the car on the windshield. This happens because the temperature outside the car is cooler than inside it.
3. Skidding on Standing Water or Black Ice
You’ll likely come across stagnant water as you drive after a heavy downpour. Resist the urge to drive through it. Instead, slow down to a safer speed until you can assess the situation inside the car.
Attempting to drive through standing water or black ice at high speed will cause you to lose traction. You’ll then slide across the surface with little or no vehicle control.
Suppose you find yourself in a skidding situation. In that case, there are some things you can perform to gain control of the vehicle, like taking your foot off the gas pedal and lightly applying brakes, steering your wheel toward the direction you were going, and staying calm and avoiding panicking.
Ease your foot off the gas if you find yourself hydroplaning. Try not to move the steering wheel an inch. Avoid applying the brake, as this will only encourage the vehicle to continue sliding instead of stopping. Stay calm, and don’t accelerate again until your car regains traction.
Hydroplaning may also cause your car to flip off. To avoid these, you should reduce the car’s speed, ensure the car’s tires are always correctly inflated, and ensure that the car tires and brakes are in good condition.
5. Wildlife Crossing
Not all wild animals are dangerous. But even then, remain inside the car anytime you come across wildlife crossing. Keep the windows rolled down, and do not feed the animals. Remember, large animals can cause extensive damage to your vehicle if you hit them at high speed.
The best you can do here to protect yourself is to turn on your high beams. Be sure only to do this if there are no other vehicles around. The high beam light will give you a broader and brighter road view. It will also reflect off the animals’ eyes, making them easier to spot.
Be extra vigilant in areas that are marked with wildlife crossing signs. The signs are usually placed in spots where wild animals are known to congregate. Keep in mind that animals like deer travel in herds. Look for others nearby if you come across a lone deer.
6. Health Issues
A sudden stroke as you drive, epileptic attack, asthma attack, labor pains, and low blood sugar are health issues that can crop up as you drive. Some of these issues are life-threatening.
If one of the health issues above attacks you when driving, you may cause a critical crush that may endanger you and others around you.
As a thumb rule, you shouldn’t drive if you have chronic health issues that randomly crop up. If you have to drive, though, do it in the company of a loved one who can drive. Be sure to also go for scheduled health check-ups.
7. Flat Tire
Experiencing a blowout or a flat tire while driving on interstate highways and other high-speed roadway presents particular traffic dangers. There are measures you can take to help you reduce the chances of road carnage.
Grip the steering wheel firmly at the first sign of tire trouble. Don’t, for whatever reason, slam the brakes. Please turn on the hazard lights and let the car slow down on its own gradually. You can do this by immediately taking your foot off the gas pedal.
Work your car toward the breakdown lane. If there is an exit, work your vehicle toward it. If you have to change lanes, signal to the other drivers behind. Change smoothly and carefully as you watch your rearview and side mirrors.
Moreover, once you are off-road, change your tires. Drive home or to work but have your mechanic inspect the car later on. This is important to ensure no residual damage from the flat tire.
What is the most serious distraction while driving?
Driver’s senses are distracted by multiple distractors.
. Still, some are very common and serious, like texting, eating or eating, talking to someone on your phone, adjusting climate control or radio, using handheld devices, and talking to passengers.
You should learn to minimize them for your best because they may cause a severe crush that will harm you and the people around you.
What are some problems with driving?
Nowadays, drivers have comprehensively failed to obey the rules of the roads leading to road problems that may affect them physically and mentally.
Some of the things drivers have stoned-deaf include drunk driving, distracted drivers, drug-impaired driving, not putting on seat belts, drowsy driving, and speeding.
These are the main causes of accidents and deaths all over the world. Keeping in mind the traffic rules will keep you safe.
What causes blind spots in driving?
Blind spots always occur when the side-view mirrors, windshield pillar (A-pillar), or interior rear-view mirror suddenly block part of the view of the road. Headrests, additional pillars, and cargo may also cause blind spots because they may block the view of the rear mirror.
You may avoid blind spots by adjusting all the mirrors perfectly, checking the mirrors, getting a monitoring system, and being aware of your fellow drivers on the same road.
Stay calm whenever you notice or experience something unusual as you drive. Besides, you should be particularly careful if you have children on board. Then make a habit of inspecting your car as often as possible. Lastly, observe traffic rules all the time.
At Pierre Paul Driving School, we train you to confidently handle common unexpected driving situations. Call us now at 718-576-6277 for a free consultation.