By Clair Morton
Last updated on: August 14, 2018 at 10:01 am
The thing that makes a sudden medical emergency so scary is that you never know when it could happen.
Every scenario will be different and may require a unique response, but in an emergency involving the driver, the goal is always to stop the vehicle as soon as possible, preferably off the road and without hitting anyone or anything.
Prevention is key in these situations so if the driver’s not feeling well, don’t start the journey.
If you’re already travelling and you notice the driver has started to sweat or wheeze, it may be a sign they’re feeling discomfort.
Act on this if you can by getting them to pull over themselves.
If the driver does lose consciousness while they’re behind the wheel, it’s important to stay calm.
Put the car into neutral if it’s still moving (shift the gear stick to N in an automatic car, otherwise just push it out of gear).
This will stop the vehicle speeding up even if the driver’s foot is still on the accelerator.
Don’t switch the engine off, as this will deactivate the power steering and brakes.
Instead, turn on the hazard lights and try to guide the vehicle towards the side of the road using the steering wheel, and let it roll to a halt.
Depending on the scenario, you may need to slow the car down manually.
Reaching for the footbrake yourself may be difficult, so gently apply the handbrake to gradually slow the vehicle.
Don’t pull at it, as this may cause you to lose control of the car. If the vehicle has a button-controlled handbrake, it will automatically slow to a halt when you press it.
Only turn the ignition off and call emergency services once the vehicle has stopped. It needs to be remembered these are often very complex scenarios and advice may change based on the situation, vehicle type and road environment.