Driving Tricks To Help You Survive Accidents

Many automobile accidents happen in fractions of a second or are completely unavoidable. A skilled driver, however, can minimize the chances of injury by learning these tricks.

Sometimes the difference between a horrific wreck and a survivable crash is the brake pedal you failed to hit or the clearing you failed to find. Successful defensive driving involves making decisions which may feel counterintuitive at first. Accelerating a car during a crash may not seem like the best solution, but it might beat braking and losing all maneuverability. Steering deliberately into a guardrail may seem suicidal, but it's preferable to a head-on collision at highway speeds. An accident can occur in a fraction of a second, so learning how to anticipate the actions of other drivers involved can help you survive.

Here are some driving tricks which can improve your chances of surviving a serious car wreck:

1. When in doubt, steer to the right. Metal can be fixed, but sometimes bodies can't. If you sense a potential accident in front of you (a chain reaction pile-up, for example), your natural reaction should be to steer to the right. There may be a guardrail or a utility pole or trees in your path, but none of them are travelling at highway speeds. Turning to the left could result in a head-on collision if you cross the median and staying straight could guarantee you'll be next in the pile-up. Most highways are designed to have some clearance on the right for just such driving emergencies. This is why there are signs discouraging drivers from parking on the shoulder of a freeway.

2. Protect the driver with aggressive steering. This is a grim choice to make, but if an accident appears inevitable- the other driver is directly in your path and not avoidable- then steer your car to the left to protect yourself, not your passengers. In an unavoidable collision, you'll want as much metal between you and the other driver as possible. In a direct head-on collision, your engine block should snap off and drop, but there could still be significant intrusion into your passenger compartment. If you have the chance to turn left sharply, then the impact will be on your passenger side and not the engine block. You may still be able to drive out of the wreck or escape through the driver's side window.

3. Think like a NASCAR driver. Cars are subject to the laws of physics, so they often follow predictable patterns in an accident or collision. A car sliding into another car on the left will continue to move left until something stops it. This means that the right side of the road will be clear for a few seconds at least. If you see such a wreck in front of use, drop down to the right hand side of the road and accelerate until you have cleared the other cars.

If a car's rear quarter panel is tapped from behind, the front end of the car will most likely twist in the direction of the quarter panel that was struck. This means steer your car to the opposite direction until you've cleared the accident scene. For example, a car changing lanes too quickly may strike the right rear quarter panel of the car in the new lane. The struck car will probably spin to the right and its passenger side will be exposed. By steering to the left, you'll allow that driver to recover in the right lane and you'll only strike his rear, if you hit him at all.



4. Be prepared to accelerate, not brake. Braking is an instinctive reaction to a driving threat, but it won't always prevent accidents. Sometimes it helps to think like a running back on a football team. Sometimes during an accident, holes will be created which will allow you to drive away from danger. Braking at high speeds may take away your maneuverability and send you plowing into another car anyway. If you can anticipate the actions of another driver, you can look for opportunities to punch your way out. Quite often the right hand side of the road is clear enough to accelerate through a bad wreck.

5. For a sudden change of direction, try a bootlegger's turn. Sometimes a sudden accident in front of you may require a quick change in direction. There is a driving trick used by stunt drivers called a bootlegger's turn which will allow you to change direction in a hurry while still maintaining some control over the car.

The trick is to turn around and accelerate before any collision can happen.

To perform a bootlegger's turn, you must have it in your mind that such a turn is necessary. You won't have much time to think about it when it actually happens.

If you need to make a 180 degree turn from a potential accident, maintain your forward speed as long as you can- aim for 45 mph at least. When you're ready to take the bootlegger's turn, a few things have to happen almost simultaneously.

First, grab your emergency brake with one hand or stab the emergency pedal on the floorboard with your non-driving foot. Keep your hand near the brake release. At the same time you apply the emergency brake, steer the car completely to the left or right. Steer hard and fast. The car should skid forward and then turn sharply. The rear or the car should slide around, leaving you facing in the opposite direction. Release the emergency brake and accelerate quickly, avoiding oncoming traffic. This maneuver will get you out of harm's way faster than most other turns you could make.

© High Speed Ventures 2011