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Common Emergency Driving Mistakes

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Emergency situations are sudden events that require a prompt and appropriate corrective measure from the driver. These situations arise because of an unexpected event or because of a lack of driver alertness. The driver facing an emergency has no time to think and analyze but must react quickly. Unfortunately, many drivers react in a way that causes a loss of control or a collision with the hazard they are trying to avoid. Here are three of the mistakes they often make:

Improper Braking With ABS

An anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents the wheels from locking up which prevents skidding. While ABS brakes do an excellent job of this, motorists don’t press hard enough on the brake pedal when they need to come to a quick stop. When something happens in front of your car where there is no room for swerving, it’s imperative that you slow down as rapidly as you can to either stop your car or minimize the collision. Push down firmly on the brake pedal and maintain the pressure. The brakes will make disturbing sounds but it’s just the ABS doing its job.


Overcorrection occurs when you apply excessive steering when reacting to an emergency. The consequences of overcorrection may be a spin out if your car has a low center of gravity, or a rollover if the center of gravity is high. Avoid jerking the steering wheel hard when driving at highway speeds. Instead, steer smoothly.

The most common overcorrection situation is when the driver finds himself part way off the right side of the road. The typical response is to jerk the steering wheel to the left to quickly get the right wheels back on the pavement. This causes loss of control. Instead, drive straight, let up on the gas, and when your car has slowed down enough, gently ease it back into the lane. Optionally, you can come to a stop on the shoulder and then proceed from there.

Target Fixation

Target fixation is the tendency to steer in the direction that you are looking. Many motorcyclists have crashed into the very thing they were trying to avoid because they fixated on it instead of looking where they wanted to go. This will also happen to motorists in cars when trying to avoid a collision. When you need to quickly drive around something, focus on the pathway you wish to take.

If you were injured in an accident because of another motorist, get in touch with a accident attorney who can advise you on your options. Contact us today for a free consultation.