Follow some of these steps if your vehicle breaks down, and take extra precaution if you are in a busy intersection or on a highway.
Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:
- Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you have been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.
- If you cannot drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic, under most circumstances, is a bad idea.
- Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning of your location can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!
- In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair – even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety.
Tire problems are thought to be a factor in one out of 11 vehicle crashes.1 Blowouts, tread separation, under inflation, and worn treads—the grooves in your tires that offer stability and traction—are some of the tire problems associated with these crashes.
Like a pair of sneakers that get more slippery with use, your tires lose their ability to grip the road as their treads wear down. Checking your tire treads can help keep you safer on the road. It only takes a few minutes, and some spare change.
Putting the Brakes on an Age-Old Debate About When to Replace Tires
Many people think only worn tires need to be replaced. That is certainly true. But old tires are also a concern. As tires age, they become more prone to failure, whether they have been used or not.
Replacing tires when they are between 6 and 10 years old is recommended by some manufacturers.2 That goes for the spare in your trunk, too. You can use the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number (TIN) on the wall of your tire to help determine the age of your tire (e.g., 2613 means the tire was manufactured in the 26th week of 2013).3
But age is not the only factor. Tread matters too. A worn tire can be just as dangerous, or even more so, than one that is simply old. In one study, vehicles with shallower treads (less than 2/32″ deep) were 3 times more likely to experience pre-crash tire troubles than those with deeper treads.4
We have all encountered scenarios in which other drivers make us shake our heads. People often are quick to accuse other drivers of being reckless, but if pressed, they may admit to sometimes driving recklessly themselves. If unsafe driving is everyone’s problem, what is the solution?
Our safety professionals have put together three tips that can help make sharing the road safer while getting from point A to B.
Assume You are Invisible
It can be easy to assume everyone else on the road is paying attention, following traffic laws, and can see you clearly. However, that is not always the case. Next time you are expecting another driver to respect your right-of-way or let you merge into another lane, do not assume they are on the same page.
Avoid Competitive Driving
Whenever you are on the road, resist the urge to drive competitively. Instead, go with the flow and drive defensively. See yourself as part of a community of drivers – all trying to get to your destinations safely. Your improved driving behavior may rub off on others and help create safer conditions for everyone on the road.
PERFORMANCE BEYOND COMPARE
The Dodge Durango SRT® is a performance powerhouse. Cut from the cloth of our most powerful SRT vehicles, the Durango SRT is America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV9.
FLEX SOME MUSCLE
Power your adventures with some serious muscle. The 6.4L HEMI® V8 engine pumps out 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. And with a towing capacity of 8,600 pounds, the Dodge Durango SRT® has the best towing capacity in its class 10
If the battery warning light (a light in the shape of a battery) comes on while you’re driving, that means the charging system isn’t working, but the fault may lie in something other than the battery.
The cause could be a loose or corroded battery cable or other wire connecting components of the charging system, or it might be a problem with the alternator or voltage regulator. The alternator generates the power that is stored in the battery. If the alternator fails, or the accessory belt that drives the alternator is loose or broken, then your battery isn’t being recharged.
The battery itself may be the cause if it has corroded cable terminals, damaged cells or plates inside or if it is leaking electrolyte.
The charging system warning light should come on for a few seconds when you start the car, but if it turns on while you’re driving, that signals a problem. Among other signs that the charging system isn’t working are dim headlights or if the clock loses time.
If the light comes on, you might be able to make it home or to a service facility. The car will continue running as long as some juice is left in the battery, but if the charging system isn’t working, your car will stop running once the battery is drained. If you turn off the engine, you won’t be able to restart it if the battery doesn’t have enough power left to run the starter motor.