How to Handle Situations Safely When Traveling Long Distance

Long-distance driving is the process of driving a car over a long distance, usually 300km or more or more than 3 hours. If you are not carefully prepared with the necessary knowledge and skills, it is easy to encounter unnecessary incidents, directly affecting the quality and duration of the trip.

Instructions for handling situations when driving long distances
Instructions for handling situations when driving long distances

The following article summarizes useful ways to handle situations when traveling long distances for your reference, let's explore together!

Fatigue and drowsiness when driving a car

While driving, if you show signs of fatigue or drowsiness, you should stop and rest in a safe place when necessary. Drinking coffee, tea or energy drinks, doing light exercise and breathing deeply will help you stay more alert.

The car's tire blew out

If you encounter an incident such as a tire explosion or engine failure, stay calm and handle it according to the instructions:

  • Turn on hazard lights.
  • Pull over safely to the side of the road.
  • Call for rescue or on-site repair.

Having bad weather

When encountering bad weather such as heavy rain or fog, you need to slow down, turn on headlights, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and avoid driving through low-lying areas. If you have a traffic accident, stay calm, turn on your hazard lights, call emergency services and provide information to the authorities.

Handling situations when encountering bad weather
Handling situations when encountering bad weather

The car lost its brakes

A car losing its brakes is a quite dangerous situation, which can cause serious consequences to property and human life. When you encounter this situation, you must stay calm, slow down by releasing the accelerator and stepping on the brake repeatedly.

If the brake system still does not work, switch to using the handbrake in combination with the engine brake. Engine braking means gradually shifting to lower gears.

  • For automatic transmission vehicles, shift the gear lever to D3, D2, and D1 respectively to apply the brakes and stop slowly.
  • For other vehicles, if it is S (+,-) sports mode or M (+,-) manual mode, you just need to shift back (-) to a low gear.

Furthermore, the vehicle driver needs to use a handbrake to feel the grip. In case pulling the handbrake causes the vehicle to lose control or skid, you need to lower the brake quickly to regain control. Be careful not to pull the handbrake too hard because it is easy to lose control and lock the wheels.

Handle situations when the car loses brakes
Handle situations when the car loses brakes

Be absolutely careful not to turn off the car engine when the brakes are lost because turning off the engine causes the car to lose power, leading to increased inertia and the car drifting faster.

In case the vehicle loses brakes on a road that is too steep or too crowded, consider crashing into a soft obstacle such as a bush so that the vehicle can stop in time.

Jammed throttle

When the accelerator pedal is stuck, you can proceed as follows:

  • Look around to determine if you can safely pull over to the side of the road.
  • Use strong force to release the accelerator. If you cannot release with your foot, use your hand to push the accelerator pedal up.
  • Apply the brakes firmly and hold steady. If the brakes don't work, try using the parking brake.
  • Shift to N (mo) to disconnect transmission from the engine to the wheels.
  • Turn off the vehicle engine to reduce the risk of an accident. However, only do this when you have made sure the vehicle has completely stopped and is no longer at risk of collision.

Loss of control when cornering

The vehicle loses control when cornering due to losing grip on the rear or front wheels, causing many dangerous situations. Specifically:

Loss of grip on the front wheels: The car runs straight to the curb without being able to turn. To handle this case, the driver slowly slows down but does not apply the brakes (except ABS brakes) because it can easily cause the car to skid. At the same time, the driver needs to steer so that the tire slip direction and rolling direction nearly coincide. Then continue to turn the car to move.

Loss of grip on the rear wheel: The vehicle throws its tail and spins. At this time, the driver needs to calmly look in the direction he wants to go and steer in the opposite direction to prevent the vehicle from spinning.

The car got stuck

When the car gets stuck, you need to find a way to increase the friction of the wheels to be able to move. You can find bedding materials such as trees, packages, straw... to line the taxiway. Then move back and forth to gain momentum, be careful not to pedal too hard, causing the car to spin and create a deeper hole. If you try many times but it doesn't work, it's best to call for help.

How to handle when your car gets stuck
How to handle when your car gets stuck

Steering wheel control is difficult

When driving on the road, if you find that the steering wheel is difficult to control, pull over immediately to the side of the road and check whether the belt of the power steering oil pump is broken or damaged. If you can't handle it yourself, call auto rescue to get the best help.

In case you cannot control the steering wheel, quickly turn on the danger warning, continuously honk, downshift, reduce the throttle, signal with your hands and brake as quickly as possible.


When traveling through wet roads, vehicles with worn-out tires will cause a thin layer of water to appear between the road surface and the wheels. At this time, the tire is above the water surface and pushes the water to both sides, making the front of the car light and going in the desired direction.

When encountering the above situation, absolutely do not step on the brake because this will only cause the car to slide harder. Slowly release the accelerator, trying to adjust the car to go straight until you can control the car as usual.

How to handle car hydroplaning
How to handle car hydroplaning

The vehicle's temperature exceeds the permissible level

If the vehicle temperature rises too high and the temperature error light illuminates, recheck the cooling pipe system. In case the drive belt connecting the pump is broken, stop immediately and call for help. Otherwise, you can wait for the engine to cool for about 30 minutes and continue driving to the nearest garage for inspection and repair.

Unexpected braking (No ABS)

When driving at high speed and needing to stop suddenly but the vehicle is not equipped with ABS, you need to be calm to handle it. Do not apply the brakes all the way as it may cause the wheels to lock. Drivers should maintain their foot on the brake pedal, continuously pressing and releasing in combination with steering to one side.

Pay attention to speed limits when driving on highways and roads

When traveling long distances, traveling on highways and roads is a common occurrence, so you need to pay attention to speed limits on these roads. The minimum speed on the highway is 80km/h, with some sections allowing 100km/h and 120km/h. Exceeding the speed limit not only leads to the risk of being fined, but also poses great dangers when traveling at high speeds.

Pay attention to speed limits when driving on highways and roads
Pay attention to speed limits when driving on highways and roads

Nowadays, many modern cars have a speed limit feature on the steering wheel or automatic throttle, which you can apply to make it more convenient during driving.

Keep a reasonable distance from the vehicle in front

Absolutely do not follow the vehicle in front, but must keep a minimum distance enough to brake when encountering obstacles or the vehicle in front stops suddenly. You can calculate the safe distance from the vehicle in front based on the three-second formula: Safe distance (m) = Speed ​​(km/h) x 3/10.

Keep a reasonable distance from the vehicle in front
Keep a reasonable distance from the vehicle in front

For example:

  • If you are driving at 60 km/h, the safe distance from the car in front is:
  • Safe distance = 60 x 3/10 = 18 meters


  • The 3-second method is just an estimate. You should adjust the safe distance based on other factors such as weather conditions, traffic conditions, etc.
  • In bad weather or slippery road conditions, you should double or triple the safe distance.
  • You should get into the habit of regularly checking your rearview mirror to monitor the distance from the car behind you.

Handle when you need to pass a vehicle or another vehicle wants to pass

When another vehicle wants to pass, turn on the right turn signal, change lanes to the right slowly and pay attention to the front and back. Then release the accelerator to let the vehicle on the left pass. When the other vehicle has successfully passed, pay attention to the rear and slowly move into the left lane as before.

If you want to pass, signal to the left and flash the signal light to notify the vehicle in front to give way. When another vehicle has pulled to the right to give way, look carefully in front and behind to pass ahead.

Handle when you need to pass a vehicle or another vehicle wants to pass
Handle when you need to pass a vehicle or another vehicle wants to pass

When starting to join the path

When starting to move onto the road, turn on the left turn signal and look ahead and behind. If it is safe, then stabilize your speed and change lanes to the inside.

At the end of the journey

When preparing to reach your destination or where you need to turn right, turn on your right turn signal early and change lanes to the right slowly. Pay close attention to the front and rear, keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

When traveling on the road, absolutely do not stop in the middle of the road because it is very dangerous. If you encounter a force majeure situation such as a punctured tire, you must drive slowly to find a safe road and a place to stop. Turn on the turn signal, gradually slow down and stop completely until you reach the parking lot.

Note: Before leaving on a long trip, you need to carefully check the vehicle's condition, including coolant, lubricant, brakes, tires... and bring basic car repair tools. Plan in detail your route, travel time, stops, weather forecast, and traffic situation for the best preparation. You should bring drinking water, snacks, basic medicine and identification documents to ensure your trip.

Hopefully the above ways to handle situations when traveling long distances will be useful to you. Contact us for professional driver training support: Exam for B1 and B2 degrees; Take a class C driver's license test…easy!

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