The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fleet Safety Tip of the Week: How to Recover from Sudden Steering, Brake or Headlight Failure

July 30, 2012

The New York State DMV offers the following advice for emergency scenarios arising from steering, brake or headlight failure. Remember, the more your drivers review these emergency procedures, the less likely they’ll panic if ever confronted with such rare but dangerous equipment failures.

Steering Failure -- If your vehicle suddenly stops responding to the steering wheel, ease your foot off the gas pedal, turn on your vehicle's four-way flashers and keep your foot off the brake pedal for as long as it is safe and practical. The vehicle's natural balance should allow it to continue going straight, but a sudden change in speed could spin it out of control. As the vehicle slows down, you may be able to brake very gently to bring it to a stop off the road.

Brake Failure -- If your brake pedal suddenly sinks to the floor, try pumping it to build up pressure. If that does not help, use your emergency or parking brake -- but use it gently. Shifting to a lower gear will also help your vehicle slow down.

Headlight Failure -- If your headlights suddenly go out, try your vehicle's four-way flashers, parking lights and directional signals. These may still work and should give you enough light to get safely off the road. If your headlights begin to dim, drive to a nearby service station or pull off the road and go for help.

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