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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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Stuck in Snow, Mud, Water

Stuck in Snow or Mud

Every time the outside temperature drops 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two pounds per square inch. You should check your tire pressure frequently during cold weather and add the necessary air to keep them at recommended levels of inflation at all times. Never reduce tire pressure in an attempt to increase traction on snow or ice. It does not work and your tires will be so seriously under-inflated that driving will damage them.

You can avoid getting stuck in snow or mud if you carry chains in your vehicle and put them on the tires before driving in snow or mud.

If you encounter muddy or slushy conditions, you need steady pulling and moderate power when traction is poor. The best remedy when wheels are stuck in snow, mud, or a soft shoulder is to apply power slowly. Keep your front wheels pointed straight ahead so the vehicle can move in a straight line. If you can’t go forward, try backing out, steering in the vehicle’s tracks.

If one of the drive wheels becomes stuck, the centrifugal forces created by rapidly spinning your tires can cause an explosion by literally tearing the tire apart. Never exceed the 35 mph indicated speedometer speed or stand near the spinning tire. (If only one tire is spinning, the actual speed of the tire is twice the speedometer reading!).

To recover when you are stuck in mud or snow:

shift to a lower gear and keep the front wheels straight (if you have a manual transmission, use second gear, not first)

gently step on the gas pedal

avoid spinning the wheels while driving forward as far as possible

shift to reverse and slowly back up as far as possible again without spinning the wheels

shift to low gear again and drive forward

repeat this forward-backward rocking motion until the car rolls free; or, if in deep mud or snow, put boards or tree branches under the tires to provide traction -- never do this while wheels are spinning. If all else fails, call a tow truck

Deep Water on the Road

If you encounter deep water on the roadway, you should drive around it or take another route, if possible. Never drive through water that is deep enough to reach the bottom of your vehicle. If you're not sure, don't try it.

If you must drive through water on the roadway, avoid letting water splash into the engine compartment by driving slowly. Water may stop your engine completely and leave you stranded in a the middle of the water.

Do not pass through strong currents are that are high enough to reach the bottom of your vehicle because they can carry the vehicle away. Despite its' weight, a car WILL float for a short time!

Test your brakes after driving through deep water, and dry them by the procedure outlined earlier, if necessary.

Strong Winds

Strong winds can blow your vehicle around, especially on bridges, when driving in the mountains, and on wide-open roads. Large vehicles, such as motorhomes, and vehicles towing trailers are especially vulnerable to being blown off course by the wind. When driving in strong winds, slow down.

Be ready for strong gusts which may blown your vehicle partially into another lane. Make sure to hold both hands on the steering wheel and be especially alert.

When strong winds are paired with rain or snow, it is especially dangerous. Rain and snow make the roadway slippery, which makes it easier for the wind to blow your vehicle around the roadway and harder for you to recover. Make sure to drive even more slowly whenever rain and snow are paired with high winds. Winds can also blow dust, sand, and other debris which can limit your visibility.

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


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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. If you have a tire blowout:


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