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AUTO, CAR, TRUCK SAFETY TIPS

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BE SAFE WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN

No one wants to break down, but sometimes it can't be helped! Being safe on the roadside CAN be helped! Usually when you see a car on the side of the road it is because of something made of rubber, like a tire, belt, or hose. Rubber deteriorates with age and heat: if it is more than 7 years old chances are it's not safe anymore. So the first thing to do to be safe and avoid breakdowns is to maintain your car! Replace the belts and hoses every 50,000 miles, just to be safe, even if they still look good. Safe tire condition is important: Keep tires inflated to the pressure listed on the vehicle (usually on the inside of the door). If you can't find the right tire pressure on the car, look on the side of the tire: the maximum safe pressure will be listed there. Often the recommended safe pressure on the doorjamb is lower than the "max" pressure on the tire side. It's probably best to go with the "doorjamb" pressure, but "hyper-milers" use the max pressure on the tire for best gas mileage.

Even if you do everything to be safe you can stiil break down... just learn to be safe when you do!

FLAT TIRES

The most common unavoidable breakdown is a flat tire. Road hazards like screws or nails can be picked up in a tire at any time.

If a tire fails while driving, BE SAFE! Slow down gradually and look for a safe place to pull over. Look for a safe, level place as far off the road as possible. You want to be safe when you jack the car up!

Hopefully you are prepared and know where your jack is, and have air in your spare tire.

Open the hood so other cars can tell you're broken down.. BE SAFE: Put on your hazard flashers.

It's a good idea to put a brick, rock, log, almost anything behind one of the good tires as a safe measure, to keep it from rolling. It's a good idea to put a piece of plywood or a board under the jack if you're on dirt or grass. A jack isn't safe on a soft surface!

CLICK HERE for more "jack safe" tips.


SAFE DRIVING WARNING: ANTILOCK BRAKES


When the ABS operates the rapid applying and releasing, or "pumping" of the brakes by the computer can make a rather loud noise and vibration. The first time I worked on a car with ABS I thought I'd check it out. When the ABS "kicked in" during my "test" I thought I had broken something on the car!

ABS was supposed to make cars more safe, BUT A FUNNY THING HAPPENED!
When ABS was first introduced a trend was noticed: rear end collisions actually INCREASED in cars with 4 wheel antilock brakes. The theory was that the noise and vibration they make "freaked out" drivers, who released the brake, then rear ended the car in front of them.

MY ADVICE: Get out on an open stretch of road with no one around and try stopping as hard as you can a few times. Get used to the "ABS experience" so it won't freak you out if the ABS system activate and you can be safe in a panic stop.


SAFE WARNING: CRUISE CONTROL


Cruise control is nice, but it can also be dangerous. A lot of people "get too comfortable" while the car is on cruise: even crossing their legs and so on! This just isn't safe!

BE SAFE!! NEVER KEEP YOUR FOOT FAR AWAY FROM THE BRAKE PEDAL WHILE YOU ARE ON CRUISE!!!

Another danger is cruise control in the rain. If it strarts to rain, BE SAFE! TURN OFF THE CRUISE CONTROL!!!

WHY?

Cruise control works like this: it senses the car's speed. If the speed decreases, the cruise control opens the throttle a bit, trying to speed up. If it still is going slower than where the cruise is set, it will open the trottle more and more.

SO HERE'S THE SCENE...

You're cruising down the highway with the cruise set on 70. Suddenly you hit a puddle, or even a slick spot. Your car slows down. Your tires have no traction. Then the cruise control does EXACTLY THE WORST THING that could be done under these circumstances: IT FLOORS THE ACCELERATOR TRYING TO GET UP TO SPEED!

You spin wildly out of control.

Hitting small puddles and slick spots in the rain or snow is no big deal if you're just driving without the cruise on. In the case above the puddle or slick spot wouldn't have even been noticed.

BE SAFE! KEEP YOUR CRUISE CONTROL OFF IN SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS!!!!

If the cruise does "run away", remember a quick tap on the brake will disengage it.


RUNAWAY CARS!!!!

CARS GONE WILD!!!!!


There have been a lot of safe car concerns about "cars running out of control". This can be caused by a lot of things: sticking cables or throttle linkages, or electronic defects in the case of sticking cruise controls, or "drive by wire" automobiles. (Drive by wire systems control the throttle by an electronic servo via the computer. The gas pedal isn't directly connected to the throttle. The pedal give input to the computer, the computer operates the throttle. That's drive by wire. Other designs (so far non-mainstream, mostly experimental) operate the steering and brakes in a similar fashion.)

Any car which has stuff like a "one touch push button start" feature is likely to have some sort of drive by wire also.

Safe driving is a matter of knowing what to do in a un safe situation!

If your throttle sticks, here's how to come to a safe stop 1) Pull back on the gas pedal with your right foot, step on the brakes with your left foot. Many sticking gas pedals have been from shifting floor mats, so look at your floor mats and keep them clear of the pedals. Floormat or whatever, pulling back on the pedal with your toe might "unstick" it.

2) YOUR BRAKES PROBABLY STILL WORK

Press the brake pedal first thing: it will often turn off cruise controls or drive by wire systems.

3) As you are pressing the brake, be ready to do two things: put the car in neutral, and turn off the ignition switch. If it is a manual, press in the clutch.

CAUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When you put the car in neutral the engine may rev up to a scary level, and may even burn up! But a blown motor is a small price to pay compared to a wreck! That's why you should be prepared to turn off the engine, which brings me to

CAUTION PART TWO!!!!!!!

When you turn off the key switch, only turn it off one click! This should avoid locking the steering wheel.
ALSO: When the engine stops, you may lose power steering and power brakes. This does not mean you will lose ALL steering and brakes, just that the pedal will be harder to press, and the steering harder to turn.

The very second you experience a runaway situation, the safe thing is to begin stopping. If you have to shut off the engine, try not to release the brake pedal once you shut it off. On most vehicles this means you will have power brakes for your stop.

Drive by wire stuff might not let you shut the motor off going down the road, but even a drive by wire car should let you shift into neutral. The newer cars have a rev limiter built in, so the motor is less likely to blow up on a drive by wire car thrown into neutral than a regular car with, say, a sticking throttle cable.

DISTRACTED DRIVING: Here's some good advice from InsuranceQuotes.org