How To Avoid A Car Crash
Rear-end collisions are most common. If aware (screech of tires, rear-view, horn) apply brakes and brace yourself, plan to steer/avoid other traffic.
Fixed-object – less common, but very dangerous.
Two car crash – most significant cause of fatalities, serious injuries, and property damage.
Try to avoid frontal crashes (“head-on”). These are most often fatal. Due to the physics involved in a sudden stop, the car could be sheared in two, or wrapped around the object. Cars involved stop almost instantly, but the occupants are thrown forward at the speed they were going at collision, either into or through the windshield (if not properly wearing their seatbelt), or into the dashboard. It is quite common that one or both vehicles in a head-on collision will go into an uncontrolled spin and their occupants be thrown out of the vehicle.
- Run over by another vehicle.
- Thrown into a curbing or other fixed object.
- Having own vehicle roll over or run over them.
One third of all traffic collisions happen at intersections, and about 40% of all urban collisions occur there. Unless prohibited, there are only four maneuvers that a driver may do at an intersection: Right; Left; U-turn; continue straight through.
There are four general rules for intersection safety:
- Know your route, plan ahead.
- Slow for intersections and expect the unexpected.
- Show your intention by position and signal.
- Go with care.
Let other drivers know what you plan to do. By following the suggestions below, you may be able to avoid a collision. Keep Your Car Where It Can Be Seen! Most drivers hit the brakes first to avoid a collision. Sometimes this locks the wheels (unless you have antilock brakes). The car begins skidding, making things worse.
- To stop quickly, apply firm, steady pressure on the brake. If the car begins to skid, release the brake. Step on the brake again, using firm, steady pressure. Repeat this process until the car stops.
NOTE-Antilock brakes must not be pumped.
- If you don’t have time to stop or turn, run off the road if you have to and if there is room. Running off the road is usually better than hitting another car. Try not to brake as you turn.
- Sometimes you can speed up to avoid a collision. This may work if a car is going to hit you on the side or rear.
When you follow too closely and another driver “cuts” in front of you, the normal reaction is to slam on your brakes and swerve out of the way. Swerving out of the way most often results in cutting someone else off or possibly driving off the roadway. It might also result in the car behind you crashing into you or other cars around you.
If another driver “cuts” in front of you, it would be better if you just take your foot off the gas. This will give you space between your car and the other driver without swerving into another lane. Don’t overreact if you are cut off. Plan your emergency escape route before an emergency happens.
If you are going to be hit from the rear:
- Be ready to brake so that you won’t be pushed into another car.
If you are going to be hit from the side:
- Brace yourself with the steering wheel. Perhaps you can keep yourself from being thrown against the side of the car.
If you are going to be hit from the front:
- Use your arms and hands to protect your face if you are wearing a shoulder strap. This only applies if you DO NOT have an active airbag. Otherwise doing so could result in bodily injury to yourself (i.e. broken nose, arms).
If you are not using a shoulder strap, throw yourself across the seat so that you don’t hit the steering column or the windshield.
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