These Are The Most Dangerous Situations On The Road

We highlighted the most dangerous situations you could get into on the road, and offer expert advice on how to handle them.
Jason Snyman
2018-06-18
By now, we’ve probably all been involved in some dangerous situations on the road. Many of us might not even be aware of these things. The obvious dangers include hijackings, drunken driving, road rage and distracted driving. We all know the leading causes of accidents and collisions, but what about the other factors which motorists don’t always take into account? We put together several dangerous situations which don’t get as much attention, and how to avoid them. Because there are so many, we’ve broken them up into sections. Enjoy Part One.

Tyre Blowouts And Panic

This terrifying scenario plays out all the time on our highways. It’s one of the single most dangerous emergency situations you could ever encounter. You’re travelling along and suddenly you hear a loud boom! One of your tyres has just blown out. According to experts, most blowouts like these happen when driving on underinflated tyres at high speeds. It’s important to ensure that your tyres are inflated correctly, as well as keeping a look out for debris in the road which could damage your tyres. The best you can hope for – it feels like you’ve hit a speed bump too fast. If one of your front tyres has gone out, the vehicle will pull sharply to the left or the right. Worst case scenario, at high speed and with such a sudden loss of control, panic ensues. If you hit the brakes at all or make any sudden movements on the wheel, the car will spin out. When a car spins on the highway, it often leaves the road. When that happens, it often flips over. What you need to do is:
  • Remain calm;
  • Hold your steering wheel firmly in both hands;
  • Take your foot off the accelerator and allow the car to slow down naturally;
  • Steer your car very gently to as safe an area as you can, away from the road;
  • Gently tap the brakes to slow down and come to a safe stop.
If this happens to you at extremely high speeds, honestly, your survival rate is pretty low. There isn’t much you can do except pray that you end up off the road and not in oncoming traffic. It’s a harrowing reminder to drive at a civilized speed at all times.  

Toddlers Climbing Out Of Their Car Seats

Children figure things out for themselves by watching their parents. It won’t be long before your child learns out how to use a safety belt or unbuckle the car seat. So, you’re cruising down the highway listening to the Frozen soundtrack and when you look up into the rearview mirror – your 3-year old is jumping around on the back seat. Not only is this incredibly dangerous for the child, but it’s suddenly very distracting for the driver as well. This is where the real danger comes in. Oh, and it’s entirely illegal as well. Experienced parents already possess a level of patience that others couldn’t possibly imagine. This is key, for just as in the event of any other emergency, you have to remain calm. Don’t overreact or start yelling and risk losing focus on the road. You can’t slam on brakes either, or the child will go flying. Best bet is to calmly pull over to the side of the road and put your child back into the car seat with a stern warning not to play with seatbelts. It’s illegal, it’s dangerous and it’s not allowed. That’s final. If you have to get out of the car for this, of course, do it from the curb side. Don’t stand near the road with your door open, or you’re at great risk of getting hit by a passing car.
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Stay Dry, Stay Alive

Nobody likes to go outside when it looks like the world is ending out there. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s miserable and above all, it’s dangerous. There are three huge problems when it comes to driving in bad weather. These are:
  • Poorer handling of your vehicle;
  • Poor visibility, and of course;
  • Other drivers.
Driving in hail, thundershowers or flash flooding is an incredibly bad idea, particularly if it’s the first rain in a while. When it hasn’t rained for some time, oil and grease accumulates on the surface of the road. With the sudden rain, these slippery substances can spread across the road surface. Drivers need to exercise extra caution. Snow and ice on the road presents a whole new level of danger, as do gale force winds and heavy fog. It helps to be aware of weather forecasts, and plan your trips accordingly. Stay tuned in to the local radio for news on areas prone to flash flooding. For as the name suggests – these floods can come out of nowhere. In the past, we’ve spoken at length about how to drive and survive in rain, savage storms, flash flooding and snow. Another factor which has to be taken into account is the trucks on the road. Rain, sleet, wind or snow – these guys have a job to do and no matter the bad weather, they have to be out on the roads. Regardless of how experienced the driver of the truck may be, trucks just can’t slow down or be steered as easily as normal little cars. It’s better to give these behemoths of the road a wide berth, particularly in bad weather.  

The Most Dangerous Of All…

Idiotic drivers pose the single greatest threat on our roads. You know the type. Those who drive recklessly, too fast, with their eyes glued to their smartphones. The people who refuse to yield right of way, particularly on merge off-ramps. Those people who run stop signs and red traffic lights. We’ve all seen them around and we’ve all had to sit and watch them endanger the lives of every single human being around them. They cause teeth-grinding anxiety as they tailgate – even under terrible weather conditions. They rubberneck alongside accident sites as if they’ve never seen such a thing before. There is zero focus. Zero brain activity. It’s pretty easy to not be a moron while driving a car. Be courteous on the road. This could not be said enough. It’s so much better to give way for other drivers trying to reach their destination – just like you – and practice caution.
  • Keep your vehicle in proper working order;
  • Buckle up;
  • Do not overtake on blind spots;
  • Do not overtake in the emergency lane;
  • Stick to the speed limit, enjoy the journey;
  • Stay off of your phone. You’re swerving all over the place and you don’t even know it;
  • Don’t drive under the influence;
  • Don’t drive fatigued;
  • Don’t be a moron.
Of course, we can’t rely on other people’s ability to drive sensibly. But if you can’t beat them, in this instance it doesn’t mean you have to join them. Besides, being a calm and courteous driver will reflect well on your risk profile when applying for car insurance. No accident history means lower premiums. How ‘bout that?