For most of us, driving is a very predictable part of our daily routine. We know how much time it takes us to get to work, when traffic will be heaviest and how to navigate the roads we are familiar with. Day after day all continues as expected. Until it doesn’t. 

No one anticipates getting into an accident, having a blowout or overheating their engine, but it happens quite often. Odds are, it will happen to you at some point or another. The key to remaining safe and avoiding costly errors is knowing how to handle these situations. Let’s talk about each one of the aforementioned situations specifically so you can be better prepared for unexpected circumstances. 

Car Accident

Getting into a car accident, especially for the first time, can be quite jarring. At times, it is hard to keep calm and collected. Here are some important things to always have in the back of your mind in case this situation presents itself:

  • Immediately stop and move only if it is safe to do so.
  • Call 911 if you have injuries or have reason to believe those in the other vehicle have sustained injuries.
  • If safe, exit the vehicle and obtain information from all drivers involved.
  • Gather license plate information and vehicle identification numbers, if possible.
  • Obtain names and telephone numbers of involved parties and witnesses, if possible. 
  • Take pictures of any damage to either vehicle.
  • If the owner of a damaged vehicle is not present, leave a note with the information (names and phone numbers) of the other drivers involved. 
  • Notify your insurance company immediately.
  • If there are injuries, or collective damage exceeds $750.oo you must file an accident report with the DMV within 10 days.
  • Take a deep breath and handle the situation from there. 

Flat Tire or Blowout

Getting a flat tire or having a blowout on the road, especially when driving at high speeds, can be very dangerous. Handling the situation properly can help you avoid a much larger crisis. Here are some important tips:

  • DO NOT slam on the brakes
  • Grip the steering wheel firmly
  • Slow down gradually
  • Once you have brought your speed down, pull off to the side of the road
  • Activate your hazard lights
  • If you are not sure how to change a tire or if it is safe to do so, call roadside assistance
  • Replace your tire promptly after installing the spare (spare tires are not meant to be driven on for long distances or at high speeds)

Overheated Engine

If you see steam coming out of the hood of your vehicle, notice a significant spike on your temperature gauge or notice burning smells, your engine may be overheating. If that is the case make sure you do the following immediately:

  • Turn on the heater. This draws warmth away from the engine, lessening the effects of heat on your vehicle.
  • Pull over. If the car continues to overheat, pull over as soon as possible and turn your engine off. 
  • Now for a little patience. Wait at least 15 minutes for the engine to cool and DO NOT attempt to open the hood.
  • If you are near a service station or have coolant on hand, add it after 15 minutes. 
  • Wait a while longer and drive to your nearest service station. 

Have Car Problems? Pay Us a Visit

Since 1963, Master Muffler has been Utah’s leading auto repair expert, and our downtown Salt Lake location has been at the heart of our operation for years. Our Salt Lake City mechanics are trained and experienced, having worked with all makes and models on a variety of different issues both big and small. If you have car repair needs in Salt Lake City, we are always happy and willing to help you get back on the road safe and sound. You can trust us to deliver the best auto care in the state.