Let’s agree. When you set off to work, school, or adventure, you rarely think about experiencing a vehicle emergency. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead and prepare for one. Planning means you’ll know what to do in an emergency.
If you don’t know how you’re in for a treat! In this article, you’ll learn how to plan ahead and prepare for any vehicle emergency. Stay put! Your road safety depends on it!
Getting Into an Accident
Did you know, according to Forbes, there’s one car crash every six minutes in the US? Yes, you heard right! A vehicle collision after every few minutes. The stats indicate that it’s always necessary to plan ahead and prepare in case of an accident. While it’s true that accident victims are caught mainly by surprise, it always helps to know the appropriate action to take immediately after getting into an accident.
Firstly, you must always have an emergency kit in your vehicle, preferably somewhere within reach, like the glove compartment. The kit should have necessities such as a flashlight, accident documentation, and a reusable camera, which may be helpful in an accident. Also, it will help to carry a cell phone with a camera. It will come in handy if you need to take photographic evidence at the accident scene.
What’s more, ensure that you always carry a pen and paper to jot down essential information quickly about the accident. Also, get a card with health information in case of medical emergencies. The card must cite your critical health information, such as preexisting medical conditions or allergies that may require prompt attention from first responders. Always carry roadside warning equipment such as emergency flares, cones, and warning triangles in the trunk as an extra precaution. Such types of equipment are necessary to warn other drivers who may be approaching the accident scene.
Being Involved in a DWI Accident
Drunk driving remains a severe issue across the United States. In fact, according to the United States Department of Transportation, one person dies every 39 minutes in drunk driving cases. For this reason, most states are extremely tough on DWI driving. If caught driving under the influence, your license will be suspended, slapped with expensive fines, or worse, jail time. For this reason, you should hire the best DWI attorneys in your state to get a fairer judgment or get the case dismissed.
Normally, what may lead to severe legal consequences isn’t the DWI accident. Instead, judgment heavily depends on whether the accident resulted in property damage, injuries, or death. However, it doesn’t mean that minor DWI cases won’t affect the case outcome.
Even so, the consequences depend on the discretion of the judge and the prosecutor. If your case involves an accident, prosecutors will be less apt to give you a favorable plea bargain, and the judges will unlikely be lenient. So, to plan ahead and prepare for a strong defense in court, always have a qualified DWI attorney on speed dial in case of an emergency.
Taking Care of Vehicle HVAC Malfunctions
Let’s face it. An unexpected malfunction with your HVAC system is outright stressful and expensive. However, a few simple AC service steps can save you from an AC emergency, and many drivers have no clue. Let’s dive into them.
The first and easiest step to avoid HVAC malfunctions is to keep up with AC service at least once a year. During the check, the technician will check for signs of wear and tear before developing into a costly problem. Addressing such minor problems is a perfect way to avoid inflated costs in the future. For instance, the technician may identify loose connections resulting in a short circuit or notice dirty filters reducing airflow. Replacing such parts now will prevent costly system failure tomorrow.
Also, be alert for the slightest changes in the performance of your HVAC system. Typically, subtle changes may often evidence underlying issues. A simple change, such as an odd smell or your system suddenly becoming louder, may indicate that you need to take your system for care immediately to avoid costly malfunctioning.
What’s even better is to change your air filters regularly. Dirty filters automatically force your HVAC to work harder, promoting quick wear and tear. If you can, consider changing them every one to three months. The best way to plan ahead and prepare for HVAC care is to mark your calendar and honor car care days.
Repairing Broken Transmissions
Did you know that according to the Department of Transportation, 2% of vehicle accidents are due to component failure? So, never skip a transmission repair appointment! A broken transmission may lead to stalling or sudden stops, loss of control, inability to maintain speed or acceleration, unpredictable gear changes, or being stranded in dangerous locations that may easily lead to accidents. So, plan ahead and prepare for any vehicle emergency by caring for your car components, especially its transmissions.
It would be best to repair broken transmissions immediately after noticing a malfunction. A quick clue in identifying failing transmissions is the smell of burning transmission fluid – it has a scent with undertones of burnt toast. Sometimes, the smell is pungent, feint, or odorless. So, when you notice a burning smell, it may indicate that your transmission is overheating, and you need to check it immediately.
If your transmission is defective, take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic for preventative repairs and maintenance. Your prompt action may save your poorly functioning transmission without overrunning your budget. Repairing a broken transmission is way cheaper than replacing it. So, always act fast in case of problems with your transmission.
Damaging a Commercial Vehicle
Damaging a commercial vehicle is bad for business. Picture this: your business vehicle breaking down with perishable goods in transit. Sounds horrific, right? Or perhaps a significant scratch on your business’s truck graphics – superficial damage to a letter may alter the overall marketing purpose. For this reason, a poorly maintained commercial vehicle can negatively affect your bottom line. Your commercial vehicle deserves special care.
There’s no way around it. You must plan ahead and prepare for emergencies by investing in a regular car care maintenance schedule. Typical car care tips include routine inspections, fluid checks, and vehicle service, as the manufacturer recommends. Regular car care means you’ll be able to identify a developing car problem early and fix it before it damages other components of your commercial vehicle. Proper maintenance will reduce the risk of your car breaking down and unnecessary damage.
Also, ensure to observe weight limits. Commercial vehicles have weight limits that are enforceable by law. If you fail to adhere to weight rules, your load may cause excessive strain on your car, damaging vehicle components such as brakes, suspensions, and tires. Also, avoid aggressive driving behaviors like rapid lane changes, speeding, and tailgating to prevent accidents and faster wear and tear.
Cleaning a Vehicle
As simple as it sounds, cleaning your vehicle with a pressure washer helps to protect your vehicle. Wonder how? Cleaning your vehicle removes corrosive residues (which accelerate wear and tear) due to acidic rain. Moreover, washing your vehicle removes sulphuric and nitric acids, threatening the clear coat and paint. Therefore, cleaning your car is a cheap way to plan ahead and prepare for emergency wear and tear repairs.
Did you know cleaning your vehicle protects it from UV damage? Perhaps this is a shocker to you, but the science is simple. It’s undebatable that the sun’s UV rays will damage and fade your car’s paint over time, right? You may not know that dirt and grime act like a magnifying glass for the sun’s rays, accelerating your vehicle’s paint damage. So, washing your vehicle ensures your car is free from dirt (UV rays fade catalysts). For this reason, always keep your vehicle clean.
Moreover, washing your vehicle lets you inspect it keenly. Therefore, you’ll be able to identify any dents, scratches, or other damage that may call for emergency attention. Identifying such issues will save you money in the long run from repairs.
Running Out of Power in an Electric Vehicle
Electric vehicles are increasingly becoming popular. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, in 2022, the share in total sales tripled significantly from 4% in 2020 to 14%. Even so, electric vehicles require EV chargers, which aren’t easily accessible compared to fuel stations. In such a case, how do you ensure you plan ahead and prepare for your vehicle running out of power? Let’s dig into it.
A quick tip is to check your EV’s battery levels before heading out, especially when planning a long journey. However, it’s easy to do this as most vehicles have a battery indicator on their dashboards indicating battery charge levels. If your battery levels are low, charge your vehicle immediately. If your vehicle lacks such a feature, you could check the voltage using a voltmeter or a handheld battery tester.
Try using less energy when you’re on the road and notice your battery levels draining quickly. If you can, turn off your radio, air conditioner, and heated seats when unnecessary. You may also reduce your speed and acceleration to save on energy. Also, it’s wise to identify the distance you need to travel before recharging, as different vehicles have varying ranges.
Driving Through a Construction Zone
Construction zones are generally busy areas, from pavers at work to excavation jobs; driving through a construction zone isn’t a walk in the park. However, the best way to plan ahead and prepare for driving through such a site is to obey signs and signals and pay attention to your environment. Driving through work zones is frustrating, and as a professional driver, you must prepare to handle such an intense atmosphere with patience to avoid accidents.
It would be best to identify work zones early to help you plan accordingly. Use all the available tools, such as routing and mapping software, radio traffic advisories, GPS systems with traffic information, apps, and DOT websites to identify work-zone locations. If possible, avoid major construction areas by opting for an alternative route. If impossible, plan to drive through the site during off-peak hours. Take your time; don’t rush.
While driving through the work site, take caution on equipment and construction workers, as they can move unexpectedly into travel lanes. It’s best to assume their presence whenever they aren’t on-site, even at night or on weekends. Slow down and approach the work site cautiously, paying attention to flaggers and signs. Be ready to follow traffic’s directions and constantly check your mirrors for vehicles trying to overtake you.
Running Out of Gas on the Road
Overestimating your gas mileage and cutting it too close can easily happen. But what do you do when your fuel tank quickly runs out and your fuel light turns while in the middle of the road? Don’t panic. Instead, do this.
The first and crucial step is to locate your bearings. The quick way to identify the nearest gas station is by using your car’s navigation system. Moreover, simple tools, such as Google Maps from your smartphone, will make knowing your exact location and the nearest filling station easy.
Next, slow your roll. Mostly, cars are fuel efficient when moving at slow or moderate speeds. Don’t ignore the highway rules because you’re on a fast-moving interstate highway. Don’t break the law by trying to save gas.
Turn off your HVAC, stereo, and similar electrical devices to reduce engine stress to help save on fuel. Roll your windows up to minimize wind resistance, and whenever you find a gas station positioned downhill, go for it. Avoid driving uphill at all costs.
As a driver, you must know how to plan ahead and prepare for any vehicle emergency. You never know what the next mile holds, and you must be prepared to tackle what the road throws at you, such as a road accident, vehicle component failure, or running out of gas. Check our website for more tips and insightful information on handling vehicle emergencies.