Whether or not you have your driver’s license, certain situations can develop that can be hazardous even when the car you are in is NOT moving. A dead battery, blown tire, overheated engine, or the aftermath of an accident all can be hazardous if not handled properly. Read the following scenarios and see if you can list the proper procedures for each.
It’s cold and getting dark as you leave school and head for the parking lot to meet a friend for a ride home. After you get in, your friend turns the key to start the car and nothing happens. After two more attempts and a check of the gearshift lever, you both conclude the battery is dead. “Oh great, now what?” you ask. Just then you spot Jan. She has her father’s car and possibly some jumper cables. She does, and now it’s time to use the cables. In the back of your mind a red caution flag is waving. You’ve heard that jump-starting a battery improperly can cause an explosion. You aren’t sure you know what to do. Before looking at the answers below, try listing on a separate sheet of paper the five steps to jump-starting a battery safely.
First, take these precautions: Be sure the vent caps on both batteries are tight and level. To be extra safe, a damp cloth can be placed over the caps to trap gases. Be sure the vehicles are not touching and that both electrical systems are of the same voltage. Extinguish any smoking materials.
1. Clamp the positive cable to the positive terminal of the discharged battery, and do not allow the positive cable clamps to touch any metal other than the battery terminals.
2. Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the booster battery.
3. Connect one end of the second cable (negative) to the negative terminal of the booster battery.
4. Make the final connection of the negative terminal to the engine block of the stalled engine (not to the negative terminal). Choose a metal spot away from the battery, carburetor, fuel line, tubing, and moving parts.
5. Start the car with the good battery first, then start the disabled car. When you hear the disabled car start, remove the cables in the reverse order (negative cables first).
Oh, No! A Flat
No matter how well you maintain tire pressure or rotate the tires according to schedule, a flat tire can happen. There are safe and unsafe ways to change a tire. What are they?
1. Do not get under the car when it is being supported by a jack.
2. Do not change a tire while the car is still on the road or partially on the road.
1. Do pull off the road slowly without slamming on the brakes.
2. Do turn on the car’s emergency flashers.
3. Do place the jack under the car, not just under the fender.
4. Do remove the spare before jacking the car up.
5. Do block the front wheels and apply the emergency brake before jacking up the car.
Driving to school one day you think you smell smoke. At a stop sign, you see smoke (not steam) coming from the engine. What should you do?
Believe it or not, some people would continue driving and try to reach a gas station for help. The proper procedure is to pull the car to the side of the street, turn off the ignition, and get everyone out of the car and a safe distance away. If the fire travels down the gas line, and explosion could occur. Send someone to call the fire department, and keep away from the car.
Too Hot to Handle
It’s a hot summer day and you are driving with your family on vacation. As you stop at an intersection, you realize steam is coming from under the hood. After raising the hood, you find the car is overheating, and this is confirmed by the temperature gauge on the dashboard. How might this situation pose a risk? What should you do?
The temperature of the water-coolant mixture inside the car radiator is normally over 200 degrees, which is hot enough to cause severe, scalding burns. The only thing protecting you from this steam is the radiator cap. If you remove it before the car has cooled, the engine coolant will shoot out and could burn the person removing the cap. Your only choice in this situation is to wait for the car to cool. When the radiator is cool enough to rest your hand on, you may cautiously loosen and then remove the cap. Do not have your face over the radiator, and use a rag or gloves between your hand and the cap.
Overheating often happens as a result of poor maintenance. When summer rolls around, you should check the fluid level in the radiator when the car is cold and watch for any leaks in hoses. The fan belts should also be checked since they serve the cooling system and keep the battery charged.
Assume you are the driver of a car that has just been in an accident. What is the first thing you should do once the car you are in is stopped and pulled over to the side of the road?
If you answered that the first thing is to check your car for damage, you are forgetting something very important–safety.
Your first action should be to ensure the safety of everyone from traffic, fire, or explosion. Any car still on the highway is in danger of causing another accident, so you must warn oncoming traffic. Use your flashers and reflectors, if you have them.
Next, be concerned with fire. Vehicles should be turned off. If there is any smoke, get everyone away from the cars and safety off the road. If there is no danger of fire, check to see if anyone is injured and how many victims are involved. Note whether anyone is trapped in a vehicle. Ask someone to call for help. It is usually best to not move any injured victims unless it is absolutely necessary to ensure safety. The decision to administer first aid should be based on your knowledge and ability.
When you’re talking with others involved in the accident, follow these tips:
1. Say very little about who caused the accident.
2. Exchange the following information.
a. Names and addresses
b. Insurance company names
c. License-plate numbers and driver’s license numbers
d. Names and phone numbers of witnesses and injured persons
3. Draw a diagram of how the accident occurred.
4. Make a note of vehicle damage.
5. Call your insurance company.
6. Be sure to get a copy of the police report as soon as it becomes available. You’ll need it for insurance purposes.