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Driving Safety: precautions and emergency

In our driving safety guide, you will find out what precautions you should take before and while driving, how to drive safely in difficult conditions and what to do in an emergency situation.

Summary:

Precautions before driving
Driving safety in difficult conditions
What should you do in an emergency situation?

Precautions before driving

Check your tyres

  • Remember to check your tyre pressure once a month and before every long journey.
  • Remember that there are two recommended pressures: the nominal pressure and the high load pressure when the vehicle is particularly loaded, for example with your luggage before a holiday departure.
  • Before each long journey, we recommend that you have your tyres checked by a professional to make sure there is no premature wear.
     

Material to keep in the car

Make sure you have the compulsory equipment in your vehicle (safety waistcoat(s), triangle, etc.) as well as the equipment needed to change a wheel in case of a puncture.

Other useful equipment:

  • Motor oil
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • Blankets and gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Bottles of water, snack bars and nonperishable food
     

Fatigue

Fatigue lowers concentration levels, extends reaction time and reduces hearing ability.

Fatigue

How to prevent driving fatigue:

  • Take a minimum 15-minute break after driving for two hours and stretch.
  • Don’t eat too much.
  • Don’t stare at the centerline of the road all the time.
  • Keep the vehicle well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.

Impaired states

Sickness and medications can affect your driving

Your focus on the road can be severely reduced by pain or strong emotional situations. If you are taking medication and are unsure about its effects, consult your doctor or pharmacist before driving.

Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol

Do not consume any alcohol before you drive and be aware of the legal limits. Designate a driver or hire a taxi if you have consumed alcohol.

Driving safety in difficult conditions

Driving precautions on wet roads

Slow down. If more drivers followed this tip in the rain, accidents would dramatically decrease. Wet weather doesn’t receive the same attention as winter weather driving, but it should. Wet roads present similar dangers-less grip and longer stopping distance, for example.

Here are some tips for driving safely on wet roads:

  • Make sure your tyres offer the proper amount of tread.
  • Drive with two hands. Always.
  • Slow down before turning, and maintain a consistent speed throughout the turn.
  • While turning, don’t make any sudden steering wheel movements.
  • Only brake in a straight line before the turn, and do so gradually. Be careful if you need to brake during the turn.
  • Increase your following distance from other cars significantly.
  • If hydroplaning, do not accelerate or brake suddenly. Keep your foot lightly on the gas and steer the car forward until your tyres regain traction.
     

Driving precautions on the highway

  • Always observe highway speed limits.
  • Activate your turning signal well in advance before changing lanes.
  • Avoid sudden or erratic steering or you may lose control of your car and roll over.
  • Take regular breaks. Don't drive while tired.
     

Driving precautions at night

  • Give your eyes some time to adjust to the light and shadows.
  • Tilt your rear view mirror slightly to reduce the dazzling effect of the car headlights behind you. If your rear view mirror has the option, switch to night setting.
  • Don't look directly at the headlights from cars traveling in the opposite direction.
  • Don’t drive too fast: visibility is reduced at night, making it hard for you to see the road ahead.
Driving precautions at night

Driving precautions in fog

Visibility deteriorates in fog:

  • Turn on your low beam headlights and fog lights.
  • Reduce your speed and refrain from passing other vehicles.
  • Leave enough time to react in an emergency by keeping a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front of you.
     

Driving precautions in wind

  • Reduce your speed. Be prepared to stop at any time.
  • Close all windows. An open window can attract airborne particles like dust that can affect visibility.
  • Keep an eye out for obstacles or debris being blown on to the road.
  • Be aware that people may not hear your horn during strong windy conditions.
  • If you’re carrying cargo on your vehicle, make sure it’s tied down securely.
  • Be very careful passing taller vehicles especially in exposed areas or on bridges.
     

Driving precautions in mountain areas

Before driving:

  • Prior to setting off, check your brakes; test them and check the brake fluid.
  • Carry the tools necessary in case you break down (for a full list see Precautions and Emergencies).
  • Check the condition of your spare tyre: the appropriate pressure is especially important.
  • Carry extra food, appropriate clothing and emergency aids.
  • Check the weather and road conditions in the mountain area and choose your route wisely.
  • Tell at least one other person where and when you are traveling and when you are due back so they can alert emergency services If you don't return on time.
     

While driving:

  • Blow your horn in advance if your view is blocked during cornering.
  • Drive carefully and slow down in turns, especially when your view is blocked.
  • Never speed or pass in sharp turns where you may not see oncoming vehicles.
     

Driving precautions in mud

  • Simple ways to decide if you can get across the mud:
  • When there’s heavy mud on the road or if you’re driving off-road, stop your vehicle and inspect the hardness and depth of the mud before driving through it.
  • Observe tyre tracks of other vehicles to gauge the depth and consistency of the mud.
  • Determine the type of vehicles that have left the track from the sizes and widths of the track. Use that information as a reference to decide if you can get across.

What should you do in an emergency situation?

General advice in emergency situations

  • Remain calm and do not panic; it will help you make rational, calm decisions.
  • Try to brake in a straight line if possible.
  • If you are driving at a high speed when the emergency occurs, try to avoid sudden steering since it may result in accidents that can otherwise be avoided.
  • You can steer far more effectively at slower speeds. Slow down as much as possible to reduce the impact of a potential collision.
  • Your main priority is to save lives. If an accident is unavoidable, take priority actions that ensure the safety of human life first.
  • Turn on your hazard lights as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you have emergency numbers and insurance numbers on hand at all times.
     

Regaining steering control

  • Release the gas pedal gently.
  • Steer the car in the direction where the back of the car is sliding.
  • Shift to a lower gear quickly and use the engine to slow down.
  • Turn on hazard lights as quickly as you can until you regain control.
  • Apply hand brake if necessary.
     

Brakes are not working

  • Hold the steering wheel firmly.
  • If this happens before entering a turn, try to control the direction first.
  • Then try to slow down: shift down gears step by step to slow down.
  • Use the handbrake/emergency brake to stop the car if the speed is below 20 mph.
  • Turn on your hazard lights if applicable.
  • Use upward slopes or hills to help stop the car.
  • If your brakes stop working when going up a hill, shift quickly to lower gear, then use the handbrake/emergency brake to park the car.
  • If available, park in an emergency parking lane, or hard shoulder. If not, then park away from fast traffic and ensure your hazard lights are turned on.
     

How to avoid it:

  • Test brakes before your trip.
  • Always test your brakes when you first start down a steep hill or if you have driven through deep water.
     

Tyre blowout

  • The loud noise will surprise you but try to stay calm.
  • Always keep both hands on the steering wheel and grip firmly. This may save your life in case of a sudden rapid deflation.
  • Don’t slam the brakes, keep your foot on the gas to maintain the momentum of the vehicle.
  • Keep the direction of the car as straight as possible.
  • Brake slowly to maintain control of the vehicle and lower the speed.
  • Bring the car to a stop in a safe place
  • Turn on your hazard lights
  • Put on your safety waistcoat
  • Place the warning triangle
  • If you are on the motorway, get to the safety of the other side of the barrier to call your breakdown service
Tire Blowouts | Michelin Tires Canada

Tire Blowouts | Michelin Tires Canada

Note on the video: The footage is shot at a
professional course with a professional driver and tyre-explosive testing equipment.

Prevention is better than cure! To minimise the risk of problems on the road, have your vehicle checked regularly by a professional and before a long journey.