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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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172

Freeway Emergency Breakdowns

Breaking down on a busy freeway can be a frightening and dangerous situation. As freeway traffic patterns and the hazards they present constantly vary, it is impossible to predict all situations. Therefore, it is important that the drivers continually monitor and evaluate the situation, taking the steps which will best protect the driver, passengers, and other freeway users.

At the first sign of a vehicle problem or malfunction, exit the freeway. If you are unable to exit, try to drive safely onto the far right shoulder, as far off the road as possible. If you can’t reach the right shoulder, park as close to the center divider as you can.

Whenever your vehicle is disabled on the roadway, use your vehicle's hazard warning lights. Be sure you know where your vehicle’s hazard light switch is located and how to use it. Warning lights should also be used when the vehicle is in the center divider or on the right shoulder, especially if parked within five feet of the roadway.

If your car has a flat tire, it is better to safely drive off the freeway than try to salvage a tire that may already be beyond repair. Avoid making any repairs on the freeway. If you must do so, have someone keep an eye on traffic to warn you of approaching danger. Never turn your back on freeway traffic.

If stopped in the center divider, it is generally safest to remain in your vehicle until a law enforcement officer arrives. Keep your seatbelt fastened, headrest properly positioned, and car doors locked. Do not get out and walk around the car or attempt to cross the freeway to reach the outside shoulder.

If your vehicle is stopped in a particularly dangerous spot and traffic permits, exit the vehicle and find a safe location to wait for help. Such conditions may include a breakdown or an accident that has occurred in fog or smoke.

If your disabled vehicle is on any part of the roadway, use emergency flares, or battery-operated or reflectorized warning devices. Exit the vehicle to place these devices only when safe.

The furthest should be placed at least 300 feet behind the car. Only persons familiar with them should use flares. They should not be placed near flammable liquids or materials. Placing any warning device in traffic can be dangerous and extreme caution must be exercised.

If your vehicle is stopped in a traffic lane, keep its wheels turned to follow the direction of the lane ahead of you. Vehicles stopped on the right or left shoulders should usually have the wheels pointed straight ahead.

Roll down the window so you can tie a handkerchief or other cloth onto the radio antenna or the door handle closest to traffic without exiting the vehicle. Display an emergency sign, if available. If safe to exit the vehicle do so, and raise the car’s hood as a signal you need help. When exiting the vehicle do so on the side away from traffic.

If your vehicle will be left unattended, take your keys. Set the parking brake or block the wheels, and turn the engine off. These steps are generally advisable even when waiting in a vehicle. To further secure your vehicle, place the gearshift in "park" if it has an automatic transmission or leave the vehicle in gear if it has a manual transmission.

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. If you have a tire blowout:


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


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


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