What To Do In This Emergency Situation

cars.com On the Road Weekly Publication

Extreme Driving

Q: What action can a passenger in an automobile with bucket seats take when the driver passes out? The passenger can't reach the brake so other then grab the wheel what can they do to bring the car to a stop?

A:  Bucket seats aren’t really the problem. It’s the center console that makes it difficult for a front seat passenger to reach the brakes. Many consoles, however, do contain the parking brake. This can be activated and will stop the car, though stopping distances will be longer as opposed to using the brake pedal. The passenger can also turn off cruise control, if on, or the engine, using either the key or by pushing and holding the "Start/Off" button.

 If using the key in an older car, be sure not to activate the steering column lock, or you won't be able to steer. Also be aware that turning off the engine will immediately eliminate power assist for the steering. It’s still possible to steer, but will require more strength. With an automatic, try downshifting for engine compression braking, or shifting to sneutral in a manual.

-Jim  MacPherson

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