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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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169
Brake, Cooling, Headlight Failure

Brake Pressure Failure

If your brakes suddenly give out while driving, you should:

  • downshift to lower gear or lower range (automatic transmissions) to help slow your vehicle
  • pump the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake fluid pressure -- you will know in three to four pumps if the brakes will work -- but do not pump antilock brakes
  • use your parking or emergency brake to gently slow your vehicle, but release it before the vehicle starts to skid
  • steer and swerve to avoid a collision or steer into something soft like bushes
  • sound your horn and flash your lights to alert other drivers
  • when you are stopped, turn off the ignition and turn on your emergency flashers
  • If your brakes get wet and do not work (such as after you travel through a big puddle), dry them by lightly pressing the gas pedal and brake pedal at the same time so that the vehicle drives against the pressure of the brakes. Do this only until the brakes begin working.

    Cooling System Failure

    If your vehicle's engine is running hot, you should:

  • turn off the air conditioner
  • if you are in stop and go traffic change your route so that you can get air moving over the radiator
  • pull to the side of the road if you see steam
  • shut off the engine, turn on your emergency flashers, open the hood, and wait 20 minutes before inspecting the radiator
  • after 20 minutes, refill the radiator by pouring water or coolant into the overflow tank
  • with the hood still up, inspect for leaks and call a tow truck if you cannot fix them
  • Driving up hills or mountains while using your air conditioning puts extra strain on your engine and may cause your vehicle to overheat. Use your air conditioning sparingly when driving up steep roads.

    Headlight Failure

    If both of your headlights go out while driving at night, you should:

  • first wiggle the dimmer switch, which will often put the lights back on
  • wiggle the headlight switch a few times
  • if the lights do not come on, put on your parking lights, turn indicators, or emergency flashers to warn other drivers
  • pull off the road as quickly as possible and leave the emergency flashers on. You might try checking your battery terminals to see if they are loose or checking your fuses to see if one or more is blown.
  • Do not try driving at night with only your parking lights working or with no lights working. It is extremely dangerous, even for only short periods. Also, do not attempt to use your high-beam headlights and keep driving, because you will not be able to dim them for other vehicles on the roadway.

    Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 9 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. To avoid tailgating, and help avoid a rear-end collision, you should give yourself a gap of how many seconds behind the car in front of you?


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    2. Failure to yield is the primary cause of what percentage of fatal and injury collisions?


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    3. If you have a tire blowout:


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    4. If you are distracted for one second, by a cell phone, passenger, or other distraction, at 30 mph you will travel how far "blindly"?


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    5. Teenage drivers have a total accident rate that is _____ times that of adults:


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