Road Hazards

Accidents
Motorists involved in a minor, non-injury accident on a four-lane highway may move their vehicles to the shoulder of the road if the total damage is less than $1,000 and no one is injured.

Approaching Cars Cross into Your Lane
If an approaching car crosses the center line into your path, reduce your speed immediately, sound your horn and keep to the right even if this means running off the road.

Blowouts
When a tire blows, there is a loud noise and the car begins to swerve. If that should happen, do the following:

  • Hold the steering wheel tightly and try to keep the vehicle straight on your side of the road.
  • Take your foot off the gas to reduce speed.
  • Do not apply the brakes.
  • Allow the vehicle to slow down on its own.
  • Find a safe place to move the vehicle completely off the road.

Break Downs

  • Exit the main part of the road or move the vehicle completely onto the shoulder of the road.
  • Leave the car by the passenger side and do not allow passengers to remain in the car.
  • Stand off the road and away from the car. Do not stand in front of or to the rear of the vehicle.
  • If you need help, tie a white cloth to the left door handle or the radio antenna and raise the hood of the car.
  • Turn on the parking lights or emergency flashers. Always have flashlights or flares in your car for emergencies.
  • If the vehicle becomes disabled on the roadway, do not remain in the vehicle. Activate your car's hazard lights. Stand to the side of the roadway while waiting for assistance.

Flooded Roads
Do not drive through standing water or flooded road sections. You can lose control of your vehicle even in six inches of water and it can be swept away in as little as a foot of water.

  • A good rule of thumb, if you can't see the markings on the road, don't drive through the water. 
  • If your brakes are wet, dry them by driving a short distance and applying light pressure to the brake pedal.

Hydroplaning

Be alert to warning signs of standing water on the roadway such as visible reflections on the surface of the water, dimples created by rain drops as they hit the water, a slushing sound made by your tires and a loose feeling in your steering wheel. If you begin to hydroplane:

  • Take your foot off the gas pedal. 
  • Resist your instinct to use the brakes.
  • Keep the steering wheel straight and let the vehicle’s momentum ease down until the tires grip the road again and you regain control.
  • If the vehicle skids, turn the wheel into the skid.

Move Over Law 
North Carolina’s “Move Over Law” requires motorists, if they can safely do so, to move at least one lane away from law enforcement or other emergency vehicles with flashing lights that are stopped on the side of the road.

Off-Pavement

  • Do not immediately apply the brakes or try to turn back. You could skid, lose control and overturn.
  • Slowly remove your foot from the accelerator and steer straight ahead. 
  • Allow the engine to slow the vehicle.
  • When the vehicle is stopped or nearly stopped, check for approaching traffic, and when it’s safe, gradually drive back onto the road.

Drive into a Body of Water

  • Stay calm
  • Brace for impact
  • Grasp the steering wheel to avoid injuries if the airbag inflates
  • While the vehicle is floating, undo your seatbelt and the seatbelts of children (oldest first)
  • Unlock the doors and open the windows while the electrical system is still operating
  • Take a deep breath and leave the vehicle through a window. Have children exit first.

How to Drive Out of a Skid

  • Avoid skidding in icy, rainy, or snowy conditions by gradually reducing speed.
  • Remove your foot from the accelerator. 
  • Turn the steering wheel in the direction the rear of the car is skidding. 
  • As soon as the vehicle's path begins to straighten, turn the steering wheel back the other way so you will not over-steer. (See image under Hydroplaning)