Department of State GrowthTransport

Unit 5 Manage Crisis

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Drivers can reduce conflicts on the road but can't get rid of them. The 5 elements are -

  1. Avoid a crash that is about to happen
  2. Do the right thing to keep control (or get back control)
  3. Take the correct action after a crash
  4. Take the correct action after your car breaks down

5.1  Avoid a Crash That is About to Happen

Crashes don't happen often. It's hard to predict when crashes are going to happen, this is why it is important to keep enough space between vehicles to avoid a crash in case one day someone makes a mistake.

To do this you must -

5.1.1  Let other road users know about the imminent danger

  • You could sound the horn or flash your headlights.

5.1.2  Keep a safe following distance between your car and the car in front

    You must

  • keep enough space between your car and the vehicle in front (it is safer to stop than swerve - you just have to keep enough space

    The table below shows -

  • how much space you need to stop (with reasonable brakes, tyres and driver, on a flat road) at various speeds
  • the amount of time it takes to stop

At 60 km/h, if your foot is ready on the brake pedal and a car has pulled out one and a half seconds in front of you, you can stop to avoid a crash. If your foot is not on the brake it will take you much further to stop. An extremely quick reaction on to the brake pedal will take about half a second. Studies have shown that the average reaction speed is 3/4 of a second, before drivers apply their brakes. In that reaction time their car has been travelling forward without braking. Stopping distance is therefore measured by using 2 distances - reaction distance (the distance travelled before braking) and braking distance ( the distance travelled while under brakes) and adding the 2 together -

Speed 40 km/h 60 km/h 80 km/h 100 km/h
Reaction Distance (metres) 8 12 16 20
Stopping Distance (metres) 10 22 38 60
Total Distance (metres) 18 34 54 80
Travel Time (seconds) 1 1.5 2 2.5

Most crashes occur in less than 2 seconds after the driver recognises there is a problem.

5.1.3  When you do not have enough stopping space to avoid the threat of a crash, choose the best escape route.

If you must swerve, you must -

take the best and safest escape route by thinking about the consequences - it may be the next lane, onto the shoulder of the road or off the road

5.1.4  If you accidentally drive off the road on a straight, take the right action to get safely back on the road.

You must -

  • stay at a steady speed and keep in a straight line parallel to the road.
  • find a smooth road edge to get back onto the road.

steer gently back to the road ? no big swerve.

5.1.5  When you find yourself going into a curve too fast, take the right action to fix your mistake.

You must -

  • brake firmly if the car is still travelling straight, then ease off the brakes as you go into the turn
    if you are already in the turn, ease off the accelerator and brake gently

try to look towards the end of the curve, as this will help you know where to steer

5.2  Do the Right Things to Keep Control (or Get Back Control)

This element is about avoiding skids and escaping from them. A skid means the car has lost the grip of one or more tyres.

If you watch the changes in your driving environment and do things in good time, you should never get into a skid. If a tyre does skid it means you have made a mistake. It?s a sign of bad driving.

As mistakes do happen a driver needs to know how to deal with them. Don?t think you need to be able to control skids to be a safe driver. These skills are only one tiny part of being fully competent.

To do this element you must -

5.2.1  Keep some extra tyre grip in reserve in case something bad happens

If something bad happens, you will have to do something - brake or swerve -to avoid it, without the tyres skidding.

By driving smoothly, you can keep some extra grip in reserve.

5.3  Take the Correct Action After a Crash

to do this you must -

5.3.1 Prevent any more injury or damage

You must -

  • stop and switch off the engine.
  • care for the injured
  • turn on your hazard warning lights
  • protect the area [use warning devices]

5.3.2  Carry out legal requirements - You must -

  • notify police when: someone has been injured, or property damage
  • exchange names, addresses and registration numbers

if possible, find witnesses

5.4   Take the Correct Action after Your Car Breaks Down

to do this you must -

5.4.1  Stop your car safely - if you know something is wrong

Things that might go wrong include-

  • brakes failing
  • broken windscreen
  • tyre(s) failing

5.4.2  After a breakdown, act immediately to make sure that you and other road users are safe

    You should -

  • move off the road if possible
  • place your warning signs legally
  • turn on your hazard lights
  • move all passengers out of vehicle

5.4.3  Carry out minor running repairs.

This may include changing a flat tyre or pushing out a broken windscreen.