Sticky Situations That Every Car Owner Should be Prepared for
Being on the road is one of the most vulnerable situations to be in. Many things can go wrong, and you can find yourself in conditions which getting out of can be very difficult or even impossible. If you own and drive a car, you need to be prepared for such situations. The odds of finding yourself in one of these might not be very high, but to be on the safer side, it is good to have a plan to get out of them.
No matter how new, well-maintained, or in good shape a car is, it can break down. If you are a car owner, you need to know enough about your car to manage to get it into running condition in case of a minor breakdown.
This might sound like too daunting of an undertaking, but it is not. The first thing that you need to have is an OBD II scanner. These are inexpensive and hook into the OBD II port of the car. You can use these to scan the car with the help of a smartphone and see where a problem is originating from. Knowing the problem can help you fix it. The solution to many of the problems cars have is available on the internet. Most of the time, they can be easily fixed.
Another thing that you need to know to get a broken-down car to run is the location of the fuse box. A blown fuse is one of the most common causes of a car not running. If you know the location of the fuse box, you can easily fix many problems.
Lastly, learn to change a car tire. It can save your day and is simple to do.
Carjacking is a bigger problem than most of us realize. Last year, 141,757 cars were stolen in California alone. While it is sometimes impossible to avoid or prevent car theft, you can sometimes prevent it.
First of all, park your car in a place in the coverage of a CCTV camera. Also, consider getting a hidden kill switch installed in the car that only you know of. Double-check the locks and doors every time you have to park a car in a new place. If your vehicle does not already have one, consider getting a tracker installed in it.
A Car Stuck in Snow
If you live in an area where it snows, you’d have been in the situation where your car was stuck in the snow. If it happens in the city, you can get help. However, if that happens while you are on the highway, your options are severely limited.
It would be best if you learned to get your car out of the snow. While it does take driving skills to get a car out of snow, there are other things too that you need to have at hand. Ensure you have winter tires in the snowy season and always keep a set of tire chains in the trunk.
If you get stuck in the snow, get the chains on the car’s drive wheels and start moving it slowly. You need to make sure that you give the car enough power to move and not too much that the wheels start spinning. Be patient and keep trying. The car will eventually make it out of the snow.
You can also find yourself in a car stuck in mud, the procedure for getting a car out of mud is also pretty much the same.
Fire in the Car
Another sticky situation that you can end up in while driving a car is fire. There is nothing scarier than a car on fire while you are in it. However, if you remain composed and act quickly, you can save yourself and maybe even the car.
The first step of preparation is to have a fire extinguisher in the car at all times. It is being made mandatory in many states, but keep one in the car even if the law does not require it.
The next thing is to be vigilant about the early signs of fire while you are driving. As most cases of fire in a car are due to electrical short-circuiting, the first thing that starts to burn are the wires. They give the characteristic plastic burning smell, the first sign of fire. Suppose you notice that smell in the car, pull it over immediately and turn the car off completely. Look for smoke or fire in the car or the engine bay and kill the fire with the fire extinguisher.
One of the most dangerous situations that any driver can face are failed brakes. Even though the brakes on most modern cars are designed to be as safe and dependable as possible, they can still break.
The first thing to do is to be vigilant when you are driving. Brakes usually don’t give up at once; they fade away gradually. If you feel that the brakes are not as efficient as they are supposed to be, drive carefully and take the car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
If the brakes do stop working at once, you need to act with caution. If it is a manual transmission car, move to a lower gear, and eventually to the first. Do not change gears abruptly. It can damage the transmission, or you can lose control of the car. If it is an automatic vehicle, shift into engine braking gear (usually marked B) or into D-2 or D-1. This will slow the vehicle down.
Driving a car carries some risk. While it is practically impossible to prepare for all the situations that can arise when you are behind the wheel, it is logical to be prepared for the most probable ones. To make sure you are safe when driving, be prepared to fix or workaround minor breakdowns of your vehicle, avoid carjacking, get a car out of mud or snow, deal with a vehicle that has or is about to catch fire, and control/stop a car with failed brakes.