4 Driving nightmares you can avoid

When you hop in the driver’s seat, you expect a smooth ride. But what happens when things go terribly wrong? Take precautions, and don’t let these driving nightmares happen to you.

Woman with road rage

Photo credit: Don Bayley/E+/Getty Images

Driving nightmare #1: Flat tire

Nobody likes getting a flat tire. In fact, a recent Harris Poll study conducted by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC showed that while nearly 75 percent of drivers have experienced a flat tire, only 60 percent know how to change one. Who needs the inconvenience and aggravation of changing a tire on the side of the road or waiting around for help to arrive? (Let’s just say over 40 percent of the study’s respondents would rather scrub the toilet than change a flat tire.)

Precaution: Bridgestone DriveGuard tires are the first full line of run-flat tires available for 2008 model year and newer coupes, sedans and wagons not originally equipped with run-flat tires. Featuring specially designed run-flat technology, DriveGuard tires let drivers continue to drive up to 50 miles at maximum speeds of 50 miles per hour following a puncture or loss of pressure. No more being stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck or having to change the tire yourself.

Watch: Put run flat tires on your car and never let this happen to you

Driving nightmare #2: Road rage

Stressful driving conditions (heavy traffic, slow drivers, tailgating) can result in unchecked anger and violent behavior. While giving the “middle finger salute” might make an upset driver feel better, it can lead to an escalation of rage and possibly a car accident.

Precaution: Believe it or not, research is underway to develop in-car facial-recognition software that detects a driver’s building anger. Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has teamed with PSA Peugeot Citroën to test a prototype camera that tracks facial movements and expressions to read a person’s emotions. Perhaps in the future, we’ll have a car that can talk us off the ledge, but for now, we’ll have to rely on self-calming techniques to keep a level head while driving.

Watch: A humorous take on road rage

Driving nightmare #3: Hydroplaning

If you’ve ever experienced a hydroplane, you know it is not an experience you want to repeat. In a hydroplane situation, the vehicle completely loses contact with the ground and skims right over the road’s surface.

Precaution: An important way to help prevent a hydroplane is to properly maintain your tires. How? Amanda DeHart, Firestone Complete Auto Care service manager in Austin, says there are three words to remember when it comes to tire care: “Inflate, rotate, evaluate.” Recommended tire pressure for each vehicle is listed in the owner’s manual or inside the car door. DeHart suggests having tires rotated and balanced every time the oil is changed. Not sure if you need new tires? A good way to check and make sure tires have enough tread is to stick a penny in the tread upside down. If the tread doesn’t touch Lincoln’s body, it may be time to “get some new feet on your vehicle.”

Watch: Take care of your tires, watch your speed and avoid a hydroplane.

Quick tip

For more wet-weather driving tips, check out this SheKnows article on how to stop a hydroplane.

Driving nightmare #4: Brake failure

Pressing your foot on the brakes and getting no response is probably the worst driving nightmare of all.

Precaution: Never neglect brake maintenance. Check your owner’s manual and have your brakes serviced at the recommended intervals or when brake pads show wear. Even if you’re a procrastinator, this is one car-maintenance item you should never delay.

Watch: A rear-end collision caused this Taiwanese driver’s brakes to fail on a treacherous road.

More car-care tips

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