Driving is one of our most cherished privileges. We use it as a benchmark experience in our youth and spend a significant chunk of our lives doing it. But as we get older, even if we still enjoy it, driving turns into a drone-like monotonous event. Most of the time, we don’t think twice about what’s going on underneath the hood.
There are a select few of us who take impeccable care of our motor vehicle. But if we’re being honest, a lot of us are lucky to check the oil change sticker every once in a while. Driving, regardless of how many hours we put in, has its perils. Things do go wrong. And as much as we may be aware of this, sometimes our lack of knowledge can get us into some pretty tough situations.
Below is a list of some of the most common problems you can face on the road and how to handle them appropriately.
Check Engine Light
If you’re new to the road, you’re probably not familiar with the “check engine” light. And if you are familiar, you probably already know the headache that ensues. A check engine light is a catchall signal for “something isn’t right.” It could be a whole host of things. But before you go on to the nearest repair shop and spend an inordinate amount of money, try checking a few things on your own.
- First, pull over and check for some major problems. If you’ve got a modern car, it will usually tell you whether it’s low oil pressure or overheating. If you’ve got a good ol’ American classic, you’re just going to have to pop the hood and check it manually. Inspect the hoses and the fluid levels, make sure you’ve got enough oil, and check if you’ve got enough coolant/water in the radiator.
- Next, make sure your gas cap is on tight. This is the most common reason why the check engine light comes on. It may seem trivial, but that cap prevents debris and critters from falling in and potentially harming your engine.
- If the light is blinking, this is indicative of a much bigger problem. It’s usually caused by an engine misfire via unburned fuel getting into the exhaust. That’s an issue pertaining to the catalytic converter. At that point, you should definitely go to the nearest repair shop before it gets more expensive than it already will be.
More car accidents happen on American Roads every day than we think. The average figure in the United States floats around 6 million. Between 90 and 100 people die in motor vehicle accidents every single day, and thousands more experience injury or massive inconvenience due to a mishap on the road. Here’s what to do if you’re in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- If you get hit, and you’re not seriously injured, the first thing you should do is to step out and assess the safety of the situation. Check on your passengers and check on the other parties involved.
- If they present hostility for any reason, stay inside your vehicle and call the police. Do not attempt to physically engage at any point. Even if the situation is relatively calm, you’ll still need to call the police to get an official report. This is an invaluable document that will carry over into the insurance proceedings.
- Next, call your lawyer. Anyone that has been in a car accident knows what kind of tricks other parties and their insurance company can pull. Being on the safe side and having your own legal advisor prevents one from going down a path that may cost them even more money than necessary.
- After everyone has been appropriately contacted, exchange insurance information, gather witness accounts, take pictures, and get to a hospital. It’s not advisable to drive yourself there. Ask the police officer (who should be on the scene) where you can safely park your vehicle while you take a taxi or rideshare service to the nearest medical facility. A lot of times adrenaline can mask pain. You don’t want to be on the freeway when you realize that you may have a cracked rib and you can’t breathe properly.
Hit An Animal On The Road
If you live outside of the city, there’s a real danger when it comes to animals on the road, especially at night. If you’re not familiar with an area and find yourself in one of these situations, the first step is identical to that of any other car accident.
- Check on the people with you in the car to make sure everyone is okay. You may be in shock. Take a moment to collect yourself and sort out the events. Either way, you have to stop. If you hit a large animal, like a deer or a hog, you should notify the police. The carcass may be a road hazard for other drivers.
- It may be tempting to go out and check on the animal. This is not advisable. If it is alive, you run the risk of being attacked or even kicked if it regains consciousness. Let animal control take care of the situation. From that point on, call your insurance provider and give as detailed an account as you possibly can.
- Lastly, make sure your car is okay to drive. Hitting a wild animal isn’t like it is in the movies. They don’t just roll over the top and into the woods. They can get stuck, get dragged, and antlers can do serious damage to you and your vehicle.
When common problems arise, it’s important to remain calm throughout the entire ordeal. Whether it’s minor car trouble, or a wild hog obliterating your front bumper, it’s imperative that you keep your wits and have a list of numbers on hand to call.
It may be a tense moment. Adrenaline dumps are quite common. But in the end you’re going to have to inform the authorities, your legal advisor, and insurance companies. Getting through a tough moment affords you time and a means to get home safely and take care of what really matters: yourself and your family.