Five Ways to Overcome Road Emergencies
It’s difficult to imagine an emergency situation around a parked car. After all, what can go wrong in your garage? Famous last words…
During the heavy rains in early 2016, long-time Carlease renter Mark (name changed to protect privacy) found this out the hard way when he left a shiny red Honda Accord Coupe parked in a basement parking lot only to return and find it waterlogged and impossible to access.
Even if he made it to the car through knee-deep water, would it start? After all, the engine had been marinating in dirty water all night. The seats were, of course, soaking wet. And the controls could barely be read under water.
So he did the best thing he could think of. He called +971 55 472 2531, the Carlease Emergency Hotline. A couple of hours later (the roads were flooded and it took some time to reach him), he drove away in his replacement car. For Mark, the emergency ended as soon as he dialed that number. Now it’s just a memory, a funny story to laugh about when he visits the Carlease office to renew his rental.
While Mark went about his day in the replacement vehicle, Carlease recovered the car from the garage, brought it to the yard for repairs and a complete overhaul – at a cost of AED 45,000 that Mark never knew about. Understandably, Mark’s current preference runs to vehicles with a slightly higher altitude than his previous shiny red coupe.
Our emotions typically drive our reactions emergencies, and define what happens next. When you drive a rental from a company such as Carlease, the best option is always to dial the emergency hotline. The person manning the line will always know what to do and no matter what the hassle, we’ll take care of it. If you don’t have the good fortune of having us around to help you, however, here is what experts advise you should do during a driving emergency.
No sudden movements, please: Statistics tell us that many crashes involving single vehicles result from the vehicle running off the road. Behavior analysis shows us that inattention may cause us to veer off the road on to pavements or too close to the fencing. So what do you do?
As soon as warning bumps alert you that you may be going off the road, you yank the steering wheel in the opposite direction, sometimes causing the vehicle to spin. In extreme cases, it may even cause the vehicle to flip. That’s the wrong answer.
The correct answer is to stay calm, slow down instead of braking hard and gently ease yourself back on to the road. This technique works even when you have a burst tire.
Can you see? If not, get help: Dust on the road, fogged windows and blind spots can cause nervous mistakes. Driving schools in the UAE teach you about “shoulder checks” to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on around you. For fogged windows, if your car does not come equipped with defoggers, switch the air-conditioning from recirculation to fresh air. This allows the car to lower the humidity within.
Are your wipers clean? If not, clean them immediately using a sponge and a clean, dry towel. At Carlease, we ensure that wiper blades – not often used in the UAE – are in good health and not damaged.
Idiot check the driver next to you: It’s frustrating and alarming to notice that the car next to you drifting into your lane. Possibly, the driver is texting and/or balancing a cup of coffee while having a conversation with his wife. It’s best to steer clear, literally, of drivers that are out there on a wing and a prayer, so to speak.
Honk to get their attention. Check the cars behind to see if slowing down is a good option. And then double-check the cars around you to see how you can move out of the zombie’s zone safely.
The red triangle: If something happens to your car when you’re on the road – a flat tire, engine trouble, anything that makes you stop, do the prescribed thing. Get out of the flow of traffic quickly but safely on to the shoulder, a parking lot, or a service road.
Put the hazard lights on – this is one of the situations that they are meant for, not while driving during fog or rain – and place the triangle on the road some distance behind you so that people know you’re in trouble (every Carlease car is released with a triangle in the boot). If you’re still not fully visible, open the hood. Whatever you do, don’t leave your car in traffic and don’t abandon it until help arrives.
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