If you're flying down the freeway and suddenly your brakes go out, would you know how to stop the car? You never know when having some extra information in your back pocket will come in handy. This is one way to get the job done:
Put on your emergency flashers and honk your horn to let other drivers know that they should get out of the way.
Try to work your car to the right lane, toward the shoulder of the road.
Try downshifting to lower gears. Doing this should slow the momentum of the car down to a speed where you can apply the emergency brake.
Only apply the emergency brake if you are going under 25 miles per hour. Anything above that speed could cause the car to lock up and spin out of control.
If you have a cellular phone, call the police and let them know your whereabouts. They might be able to come to your aid and help you stop your vehicle.
What To Do if You're Impaled by an Object
Dr. Lisa Masterson is an ob/gyn at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She's also a medical expert for Lifetime's What Should You Do? Dr. Masterson says that you should follow these guidelines if you ever find yourself impaled by an object:
Do not move or remove the object. Removing the object can cause more damage to the organs and could cause you to bleed to death.
If the object doesn't create a seal on its own, try to control the bleeding by wrapping towels around it and applying pressure with your hands.
When in a trauma situation with a pregnant woman, tend to the mother first. Saving the mother will save the baby, since she is the source of life for the fetus.
What To Do if You're Stranded in a Flash Flood
Flash floods can happen anywhere without warning. In fact, they're the No. 2 weather-related killer in the United States. Nearly half of all flash flood victims who've died were driving. World-renowned survival expert Dr. Adrian Cohen says that by following these guidelines, you're more likely to survive a flash flood.
If there is a flash flood warning, don't drive unless it's an absolute emergency.
If you must drive during a flash flood warning, avoid low-lying roads or areas that tend to collect water.
Never drive through standing water. You cannot assume the depth of water or how fast its current is. It only takes two feet of water to move a car.
If the water around your car starts rising, get your windows down so you have an escape route if need be.
Use your car as a raft. Stay with the car—stay anchored to it by using something like the seatbelt. Don't separate yourself from the car unless the car is sinking. If this happens, swim to a tree or something anchored to keep you from floating with the current.
What To Do if You Want to Use an ATM Safely
Using the automatic teller machine can be more dangerous than you think. It's best to use the ATM only once you've thought about where you are and wondered what you would do if someone tried to rob you or abduct you. Use these tips to keep yourself out of harm's way:
Use ATMs only in well-lit, secure locations. Plan ahead to get cash out before it's evening or nighttime.
Make sure your wits are about you when taking cash out of an ATM. Turn off your radio and try to remain focused on the task and your surroundings.
If you need to use a drive-through ATM machine, only choose that option during regular business hours at the bank.
Many police stations now have ATMs on their premises. This will always be the safest place in your neighborhood to withdraw money. Another good option is to take out extra cash when buying groceries.
If someone happens to abduct you, try to resist them. Do everything in your power to not let them take you to a second location. If you are taken from your seat and put in the trunk, in many cars you can kick out the backseat from the trunk and dupe your abductor.
What To Do if a Rapist is Trying to Attack You
The statistics are staggering. One in four women in America will be raped during her lifetime. If you find yourself alone with someone trying to attack, sexually assault or rape you, the best thing you can do is take charge of the situation. Start with these ideas:
First, women should not walk alone at night. Even if you have a cellular phone with you, you leave yourself vulnerable. On college campuses, women are sometimes targeted by sexual predators. It's important to be alert and to have a plan before anything happens to you.
Making a lot of noise is a good idea—you never know who might be in the area and could come to your rescue.
When fighting an attacker, go for the parts of his body that are vulnerable: his eyes and privates. If you can get the person to release you with both his hands, that is your opportunity to get away.
The only time you might not want to fight back is if you are in an area where no one can hear you and you have a knife at your throat—submission may be more prudent. You can recover from being raped, but you won't recover from being murdered. Listen to your instincts.
What To Do if You're in Shark Infested Waters
There's nothing more terrifying than watching someone you love being attacked by a killer—especially when that predator is a ferocious shark. Here are some ways you might outwit this "killing machine":
The best thing you can do is not panic. Every ounce of your willpower and every ounce of your strength must go to fighting for your life.
If a shark has a hold on your body, one of the most vulnerable places you can hit it is in the gills.
Keeping aware of what's happening to you and fighting the shark is the best way to avoid being overcome. Just like a person, a shark can be persuaded to stop attacking you if you connect with it in a place that will cause the shark pain.
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 5, 2013