Handling Emergencies on Sacramento Roads

It takes a certain type of driver to maneuver Sacramento roads. One must be attentive and skillful. It also takes a specific type of vehicle to successfully maneuver our roads. It should be responsive and well maintained at the very least. Despite having all these things, emergencies happen.

Emergencies on the road can take place anywhere, to anyone, at any time. Brake failure, flat tires, hydroplaning and all manner of breakdowns can cause an accident on the road. When those times occur consider some basic safety tips to prepare you.

Brake failure can definitely cause auto accidents. There are several reasons brakes can fail. If the driver has driven many miles and the breaks can get overheated. Puddles and excessively wet weather can also cause break failure. There are two breaking systems available in most passenger vehicles which California law mandates must be in working order before driving: hydraulic four wheel systems and a parking brake that is mechanically operated.

• If total brake failure occurs try pumping the brakes first unless they are anti-lock brakes. Sometimes brake lines can become clogged and a few pumps of the brake line can break free any debris trapped inside.

• If possible, downshift. This creates more friction on the transmission and slows the vehicle. Use the parking brake, as well. Pull the parking brake up slowly, in increments, to avoid losing control of the vehicle.

• Warn other drivers of your plight. Honk your horn, wave out the window and flash your lights if your brakes have gone out. Warning other drivers gives them the chance to get out of your way, possibly saving lives.

Tires that just go flat while you’re driving are cumbersome but not a disaster. It is an easily handled situation. A blowout, however, is a far different story. If a tire blows out, the driver is left with nothing but shredded rubber and a rim. This allows for limited or no control of the vehicle on the roadway.

Slamming on the brakes is a big no-no when dealing with a blowout. Instead, drivers should firmly grip the steering wheel and remove their foot from the gas. The brakes should be pressed slowly and cautiously to retain what control is possible.

Skidding is another road hazard that can occur in Sacramento. There are different types of skids that require different driver reactions. Acceleration skids happen when the drive wheels loose traction with the road. To maneuver out of an accelerations skid, slow down gradually without constantly tapping the brake.

Braking to hard can cause locked wheel skids. Braking hard at a high speed will often cause the wheels of a vehicle to lock up. The driver must take their foot off the brake, straighten the car and gradually reduce speed to come out of this type of skid.

Fishtailing skids happen at the rear of the car. They occur when the back tires loose traction. Drivers must turn into the curve of the skid to regain control of the car.

Power steering outages can also be a big hassle. While not completely hindering the control of the car, it does cause some problems. When the power steering pump goes out or the fluid runs out the car will still steer but making sharp turns, harrowing corners or sudden swerves will be almost impossible.

Should power steering problems occur, the best course of action is to slow down. Take turns and corners widely and slowly. Periodically have the steering components checked by a professional to avoid these types of problems.

Interstate highways and all major roads are patrolled by law enforcement regularly. Some highways also have special “call-for-help” designated telephones perched on poles at road side. Travelers with a cell phone can call right from the roadside but it is ill-advised to walk on a multi-lane highway. Conversely, if there is a source of help that can be reached on foot, it is acceptable to try the direct approach and walk but keep as far from traffic as possible.

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