• Posted by CERC India
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How to deal with road emergencies

You could be driving along when the engine stalls or the car accelerates suddenly and unintentionally, or you have a flat tyre. Learn what to do in these sticky situations before you summon help.

Blown tyre

Don’t stop in the travel lane; take a firm grip on the wheel and steer the car to a safe location. Do what you can to prevent flats by keeping all tyres, even the spare, properly inflated. Check air pressure at least monthly—many tyre problems result from underinflated tyres that overheat—and inspect the sidewalls for bulges or cracks.

Stalled engine

A car can lose power for many reasons, from running out of fuel to having a faulty fuel pump or alternator or an ignition switch that switches off inadvertently. If you’re driving and the ignition key moves to the accessory position accidentally, try shifting into neutral and restarting the engine. If the engine won’t restart or has stalled for another reason, apply the brakes and steer gradually to the side of the road.

Sudden acceleration

Our tests have shown that brakes may not be enough to stop a car with a stuck throttle while travelling at highway speeds. Brake firmly, but don’t pump the brakes. And don’t turn off the engine, because doing so disables the power assist for your steering and brakes. Shift into neutral. Don’t worry if the engine revs up alarmingly. Steer to a safe location and come to a full stop. Shut off the engine with the transmission still in neutral. Set the emergency brake.

Keep these in the car

In addition to a basic first-aid kit and your cell phone and charger, have the items below on hand and become familiar with how each tool works:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Jack and lug wrench
  • Nonflammable foam tyre sealant (for minor punctures)
  • Spare fuses (check owner’s manual for correct type and replacement instructions)
  • Flashlight
  • Gloves, hand cleaner, clean rags
  • Auto club card or roadside-assistance number
  • Jumper cables or a portable battery booster
  • Escape device (blade or knife to slice seatbelts and spike to shatter windows)

Source: Consumer Reports, July 2014

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