The reality is, it has probably been quite a few years since you last took your driver's test to get your license. What are the chances that you remember everything from your training? Hopefully these safe reactions to scary driving situations can refresh your memory.
Noticing an impaired driver up ahead will always give you a head start on staying safe while on the road. However, you still need to be cautious even if you switch lanes to get away from the driver. Try to give yourself as much space as you possibly can in between you and the other car while also keeping an eye on the driver, but still remember to pay attention to everyone else on the road. If you can do so safely, notify the authorities so they can get the driver off the road before they harm anyone or themselves.
A lot of times people do not know what they are doing when they are driving impaired, so try to get away from them as fast and as safely as possible. Sadly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that more than 10,000 people die in alcohol-impaired driving accidents, which translates to one every 51 minutes. Alcohol is not even the only type of impaired driving that happens out there unfortunately.
Depending on where you live can determine what kind of weather conditions you have to work with. If you live in a very hot and dry climate, be aware of tire blow outs from the rubber getting too hot on the pavement and freeways. If you live in a climate where there is snow, then you probably need chains on your tires and need to be aware of black ice. Lots of rain means you need to give yourself extra amount of time for stopping distance, and to always make sure your window wipers are in tip top shape. Nationwide suggests that you always be aware of the weather forecast before you leave your house and double check your state's driving recommendations regarding your allocated weather patterns to stay the safest.
Wrong Way Driving
If you are driving and suddenly see someone driving down the wrong side of the road, get as far away from that person as you possibly can. You can even try honking your horn and flashing your headlights at them to try and get their attention, but only if it is safe to do so. The person driving the wrong way could also suddenly realize they are going the wrong way and will try to over correct their mistake by doing something on impulse, which could make the surrounding area dangerous. If you have to drive down a different street to avoid them, so be it. Would you rather spend a few minutes driving out of your way to stay safe, or get wrapped up in the wrong way driver's mess?
The Power Of The Sun
Sunny days are always nice to take a drive but if you are not properly equipped with sun gear, it could end in an unsafe, scary scenario. Always make sure you have sunglasses with you and a working visor so the sun does not blind you while you are driving. In some hot weather states, the sun is so bright that the light bounces off the chrome of vehicles in front of other cars, blinding them to where they cannot really see the road as well as they should. As a result, the driver is not able to react quickly like they normally would. Make sure you and your vehicle are always equipped to battle the sun, especially that afternoon sun which is brutal.
Whether you are riding too slow in the fast lane or just going five miles above the speed limit, someone will always think you are driving too slow for them out there. If you have someone riding your bumper and trying to pressure you to get out of their way, move out of that lane cautiously when you can. That driver will probably attempt to do something unsafe to try and get around you so it is better for you to let them pass or move out of their way.
Preparing to be Rear-Ended
If you look in your rear view mirror and you notice that someone is about to rear end you, remain calm and lightly let your foot off of the brake. By doing this you can lessen the impact when the car does in fact hit you. Just remember, if your car hits the car in front of you while you are doing this, you could be ticketed as well. However, that should definitely be the least of your concern. Your safety, along with the safety of the other drivers is what matters most.
Depending on where you live determines what kind of animal crossing you may have on your surrounding roads. It could be a loose dog, a wild deer, or a bunny rabbit suddenly darting across the street while you are traveling 40 mph. If you slam on your brakes, the car behind you that has been following too closely could rear end you. The best thing to do is if you can move over safely, do it, or if you have a sufficient amount of time to avoid hitting the animal and getting into an accident, slowly release pressure on the brakes and try not to over correct your steering. The Department of Motor Vehicles Organization suggest that you look for reflecting eyes, which can alert you that there is an animal on the side of the road. Especially be cautious in the areas where there are signs stating there are known animals.
If you were texting while driving and didn't see the turn you were supposed to take, you might find yourself suddenly in a lake slowly sinking in your car. Always remember to stay calm and to not panic, as that usually always just makes things worse. While staying calm, you want to open your door immediately before the pressure builds up to where it will be too hard to open. The sooner you can open your door, the sooner you can get to the surface and swim safely to shore.
If for some reason you waited too long and the pressure built up, take an object (such as a hammer) and start hitting the corners of your windows to try and escape before your car is completely submerged. You have seconds to act quickly and smartly, so remember, the faster you try to exit the vehicle, the better chance you have before too much water prevents you from getting free.
Four-Way Stop Sign
The driving manual states that the driver to the right has the right of way at a four-way stop sign. Yet, sometimes it is tricky to tell because multiple drivers could have stopped at the same time. The best thing to do in this scenario is to make sure you have eye contact with the three other drivers. Once you make eye contact, typically one driver will motion another to proceed. Yet, proceed with caution as someone might get confused as to who is supposed to go next. This happens a lot and is pretty normal, but as long as drivers keep eye contact, proceed with caution, and pay attention, they can create a safe form of communication with one another, and all can still go home safely.
Watch this video to learn safety tips for driving in the rain.
Scary Situations Do Exist On The Road
A lot of drivers tend to think that some of these scenarios could not possibly ever happen to them, but sadly they happen everyday. By being aware of these situations, acknowledging that they could happen to you, and studying how to safely get out of these situations, it could possibly end up saving your life and perhaps even the lives of your loved ones.