Cars today are much more reliable than my first car, an old stunner that had a manual choke and was reluctant to start in most weather conditions, including rain, a common predicament in this country.
It makes it easy to forget that sometimes we need to stop, and here are my top ten reasons why it’s absolutely necessary sometimes.
1) Flashing lights: If the police signal you to pull over, it would be a strong recommendation from me to pull over safely. You may just have a light out, but we’ve all seen the reruns of the police shows and therefore know what happens if you don’t stop.
2) Losing something: This includes a wide variety of things, from a wheel that shoots off when you hit the highway at high speed, to dropping a CD in the car. If the wheel falls off, you must stop. When your CD falls under the passenger seat and it’s imperative that you tune in to your favorite Wham! CD, then pull over. Similarly, in an article in the news this week, a woman was shaving her bikini line while driving and caused a build-up. Stop!
3) Flames: I would think this was pretty obvious, but if you see flames, stop driving. Unless you want to be part of a human fondue experiment, get out of the car as soon as possible and as far away from the car as possible.
4) Smoke: Mainly because this is often a harbinger of flames, but smoke is generally not a good sign, especially if it’s coming from under the hood.
5) Smells: Okay, so it could be the dog, or driving past a farm, but if you smell something you haven’t smelled in the car before, like fire or gasoline, stop and take a look. Combustion is generally associated with flames and smoke, so stop the car!
6) Can’t see: Whether it’s pouring rain, fog or snow, get it cleared up. Many people have encountered the following problem this year, after carefully scraping the windshield off the snow ready to go to work, they got halfway through and the huge piece of the roof slid and covered the windshield again. Not good if you’re hammering the M25 on your way to work. Stop and sort it out before you endanger everyone’s life.
7) Bangs: OK, you may have just run over the Coke bottle the guy in front of you threw out his window, but you may also have had a flat tire or lost your engine.
8) Feeling sick: If you don’t feel well, don’t drive. You might have a migraine, need to urinate or have something more serious like a heart attack, but illness is a big cause of accidents in the UK. People plowing into other cars when they are not fully concentrated is terrible and can lead to loss of life.
9) Drowsiness: Similar to feeling sick, if you are tired, roll down the window to get some fresh air and get out of the way as soon as possible. Take a rest. Don’t kill anyone.
10) Driving Changes: If your power steering suddenly cuts out or the lights start flashing, stop and check your manual. These are safety features to protect you and should not twinkle unnecessarily like Christmas lights.
In general, use your initiative! And it is imperative that you have car insurance in case something goes wrong.