Avoiding Crashes and Emergency Maneuvers
In an emergency situation where you might crash into another vehicle or object, you need to react quickly. You can steer around the object; change your speed, generally by braking; or both steer and change your speed.
Aggressive steering may be required in an emergency situation, which is why AAA recommends holding the steering wheel with both hands, at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. This method provides:
- 180-degree steering input without removing your hands from the steering wheel.
- A high level of arm leverage and vehicle control.
- An awareness of where the wheels are pointing and how to straighten them.
- Quicker reaction times, making you better able to take evasive action.
In some emergency situations, you may be forced to brake because there is no space to the side into which you can steer or because you have failed to identify such a space.
If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes, all you need do is press the brake pedal and hold it down. The system automatically senses if a wheel begins to lock and quickly releases and reapplies the brakes as many times as necessary to keep the wheel from locking up. You can also continue to steer the vehicle while braking.
If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, the best way to brake under emergency conditions is to use squeeze (or threshold) braking. To squeeze brake, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure on the brake pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal to a point just before they lock. Adjust pedal pressure as necessary. This gives you the best combination of braking effort and directional control.
What to Do After a Collision
Car crashes can happen to even the most experienced drivers, so it’s good to know what to do after a collision. Ensure you have all your bases covered.
- Most importantly, stay calm.
- Make sure you and your passengers are okay and not injured.
- If possible, maneuver your vehicle off the roadway to prevent a secondary crash.
- Alert the appropriate authorities by calling 911 right away.
- Report the incident to your insurance company, regardless of whether you are ticketed or think you are at fault.
- Do not admit fault to anyone. Factually report what occurred only to the police and your insurance company.
- Collect incident information from all parties at the scene, including any witnesses.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, and get the names of any passengers as well.