If while driving, something should block your way without warning, you have two crash avoidance options. You can swerve or you can brake. Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule that covers all situations.
In an emergency maneuver, you generally shouldn’t swerve and brake at the same time. Braking and swerving each by themselves, demand traction from your tires. Doing both at the same time may exceed the traction limit of your tires and cause skidding. An exception to this is when your car has ABS brakes where braking and gentle turning is possible. But if you turn too hard while braking, even ABS won’t prevent you from losing control.
Swerving generally requires less distance to avoid the obstacle and is the best option to take provided you are absolutely sure that you won’t lose control, or collide with a person or vehicle on the road. It’s a two-step maneuver requiring that you change lanes or go to the shoulder, and then get back into your lane without colliding with another vehicle or obstruction.
Swerving to the shoulder is viable provided it’s large enough for your vehicle and isn’t filled with sand or gravel. Otherwise, it can cause your vehicle to lose control. Swerving into the left lane risks a head-on collision if a car is coming your way or if there’s a blind corner ahead. Such a maneuver in a multilane highway can also cause a collision if you reactively do it without checking first.
What this means is that when you’re taken by surprise, and there’s no time for checking, you should brake hard without turning. With ABS brakes, apply hard pressure on the brake pedal. If you don’t have ABS, brake just short of locking your wheels. If you hear skidding tires, let up on the brakes a bit until it stops.
Again, never swerve unless you know the way is clear, except in the case of avoiding a pedestrian that you’re about to hit. If another’s bad driving caused you to get injured, don’t hesitate to consult with our experienced lawyers. Contact us today.