(State of Colorado)


10. Emergencies


All drivers sooner or later will find themselves in an emergency situation. As careful as you are, there are situations that could cause you a problem. If you are prepared, you may be able to prevent any serious outcomes.


10.1. Avoiding collisions

When it looks like a collision may happen, many drivers panic and fail to act. In some cases, they do act, but do something that does not help to reduce the chance of the collision. There almost always is something you can do to avoid the crash, or reduce the results of the crash. In avoiding a collision, drivers have three options:

(1) stop or slow down.

(2) turn.

(3) speed up.

STOPPING QUICKLY: Many newer vehicles have ABS (ANTI-LOCK Braking System). Be sure to read the vehicle owners manual on how to use the ABS. The ABS system will allow you stop without skidding. In general, if you need to stop quickly:

WITH ABS: Press on the brake pedal as hard as you can and keep pressing on it. You might feel the brake pedal pushing back when the ABS is working. Do not let up on the brake pedal. The ABS system will only work with the brake pedal pushed down.

WITHOUT ABS: You can cause the vehicle to go into a skid if you brake too hard. Apply the brakes as hard as you can without locking them. If the brakes lock up, you will feel the vehicle start to skid. Quickly let up on the brake pedal. As soon as the vehicle stops skidding, push down on the brake pedal again. Keep doing this until the vehicle has stopped.

TURNING QUICKLY: In most cases, you can turn the vehicle quicker than you can stop it. You should consider turning in order to avoid a collision.

Make sure you have a good grip with both hands on the steering wheel (see §11.1, Steering). Once you have turned away or changed lanes, you must be ready to keep the vehicle under control. Some drivers steer away from one collision only to end up in another. Always steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.

WITH ABS: One aspect of having ABS, is that you can turn your vehicle while braking without skidding. This is very helpful if you must turn and stop or slow down.

WITHOUT ABS: If you do not have ABS, you must use a different procedure to turn quickly. Step on the brake pedal, but then let up and turn the steering wheel. Braking will slow the vehicle some, and it puts more weight on the front tires and this allows for a quicker turn. Do not lock up the front wheels while braking or turn so sharply that the vehicle can only plow ahead.

Another consideration is that generally it is better to run off the road than to crash head-on into another vehicle.

SPEEDING UP: Sometimes it is best or necessary to speed up to avoid a collision. This may happen when another vehicle is about to hit you from the side or from behind and there is room to the front of you to get out of danger. Be sure to slow down once the danger has passed.


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