Guidelines for driving scenarios published

Road Safety Authority publishes guidelines for handling dangerous driving scenarios.

Traffic jam [illustrative] 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Traffic jam [illustrative] 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the wake of a devastating car accident that killed a family of eight in the spring, the National Road Safety Authority has published guidelines for drivers on precisely how to handle five dangerous road scenarios.
Already available on the authority’s website, it intends to publish the guidelines in a booklet as well as instill a sense of awareness among drivers through broadcasts and social networks. The ultimate goal is to reach a situation where more than 90 percent of Israeli drivers know how to cope with exceptional driving events.
In the first stage of the project, the authority is including five scenarios in its guidelines: loss of control upon vehicle acceleration, faulty brakes, tire explosions, flat tires and involuntary engine bleeds.
Creating these guidelines was a response of the National Road Safety Authority to the car accident in May that killed eight members of the Attias family and was likely a result of the car’s irregular acceleration near the entrance of Tiberias, the authority said.
• One of the most important lessons learned from this accident is that drivers must not neglect the occurrence of an erratic acceleration event, which can occur even when the foot is not on the gas pedal, the authority explained. While such an event is rare, any object on the floor or even the carpeting can block the accelerator pedal. In such a situation, the driver should move the gear selector to “neutral,” as this disengages the connection between the engine and the wheels, allowing him or her to stop the vehicle by ordinary means.
Once stopped in the safest place possible, the drive should flash the hazard lights and set up a warning triangle, exiting the vehicle and standing on the right side of the road in a glowing vest to phone the police, the National Road Safety Authority said.
• In the loss of brakes scenario, the driver should try to slow down the vehicle by switching to a lower gear and by lifting the hand brake slowly, the authority explained. If the driver is still unable to slow the vehicle, he or she should try to guide the car to an uphill path or slow the car using the friction of a separation fence or parked vehicles.
In this case of faulty brakes, the driver should never apply the brake pedal continuously – at risk of overheating them – or press on the accelerator, the authority said. Once stopped, the driver should follow similar protocol to the driver in the acceleration scenario.
• Another irregular event, a tire blowout, can be extremely dangerous and lead to loss of control of a vehicle. Blowouts can occur as a result of wearing, dryness or an obstacle on the road, the National Road Safety Authority explained. If such an event occurs, the driver should hold the steering wheel and maintain a straight direction, moving as slowly as possible with the brakes and the gearbox.
After stopping the vehicle, this driver as well should step out in a glowing vest, placing a triangle warning sign and turning on the emergency lights.
The driver should check all vehicles tires and replace them if necessary.
• With a flat tire, the driver will feel the air depletion on the sides of the vehicle and will also hear unusual noises. In this case, he or she should also keep the motion of the car in a straight line and use the brakes and gearbox to slow the car.
Once stopped, the driver should perform the same procedure as mandated for an exploded tire, the authority said.
• A final situation presented in the guidelines by the National Road Safety Authority is the involuntary engine bleed, in which the vehicle may stop mid-journey due to lack of fuel or an electrical or mechanical failure. The driver should try to get to the right portion of the roadway, preferably the shoulder, and carefully slow the car to a complete stop. He or she should then flash the hazard lights, exit the vehicle, place a warning triangle and stand on the right side of the road to call the police while wearing a glowing vest.
If the car can only be stopped in the middle, the driver should turn on the hazard lights and place the triangle, but should him or herself move to the right side of the road while reporting the lane blocked to the police, the authority said.
To avoid all of these irregular and dangerous incidents as much as possible, drivers should make sure to take their cars for maintenance procedures every year, check tire pressure every two weeks and regularly examine windshield wipers, vehicle fluid levels and any vehicle abnormalities, the authority said.