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Heart attack whilst driving

Community Veteran
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Heart attack whilst driving

OK... No, I haven`t had a heart attack whilst driving... BUT.... my missus asked me the question..... ( she cannot drive, and understands very little about how I do! )
What should I do, if you have a heart attack, whilst driving the car.? 
In particular she was concerned about "on a motorway"... and envisioned a high speed crash, which she could do nothing about, because she did not know what she "could" do, to minimise the crash....
so what instructions would you give your passenger, if you had a heart attack, whilst driving?
On a secondary question... anyone who has had a heart attack, care to pass on any "warning signs" - pain in the chest  ? feeling faint ? that may give a few seconds warning and enable a slow-down reaction? ? 
11 REPLIES
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Quote from: shutter
so what instructions would you give your passenger, if you had a heart attack, whilst driving?

Only thing I can think of is grab hold of the wheel, put the car in neutral and pull the hand brake. Whether that is correct or not I've no idea but thats the first thing that springs to mind.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Personally on a motorway, as all the traffic is going in the same direction, I would suggest that steering is the most important part of the equation. I suggest she steers toward either the hard shoulder and steer into the barrier at an angle, or the same towards the central reservation. Modern cars are designed to absorb this sort of impact, and it would be much better than pulling on the handbrake and possibly spinning and taking a direct impact from another car or lorry.
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

My boss of several years back used to go home for lunch. He'd had a blazing row with his next nearest junior manager over some point of order. He left to drive the around 5 miles to home. apparently felt unwell, parked the car in a lay-bay (this was surmised by the medics) he didn't need to or would ever normally use, keeled forward over the steering wheel and died of a massive heart-attack. The way we heard it was that instantaneous death from heart-attack is quite rare, most have time to realise that something is very wrong and if nothing else get off the road or at least stop in a straight line.
I was related to him by marriage as second cousin.
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nadger
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

One would imagine that person having heart attack would probably take pressure of accelerator so vehicle would slow down.
Hazard flasher switch is fairly central so could be reached by front seat passenger.

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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Thanks guys.... logical thinking seems to agree with my ideas too!.... must admit I had forgotten about the Hazard warning switch...

Not so sure about foot pressure on the accelerator... I tend to drive with a "very light foot" pressure, with my toetrying to keep off the pedal, so if I had a siezure or something and my foot "relaxed" to a "normal" position, it would probably put more pressuer on the pedal... want to keep the instructions simple, so won`t mention that... !..
1 . put on Hazard warning lights
2. grab steering wheel to keep car going straight(ish)
3. pull hard on hand brake... and attempt to knock gearstick into neutral....
4.... panic
5... hope it stops safely
6. dial 999  and ask for coastguard.....
7... forget the last three as you will have forgotten them by now ! ! ! ....
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Quote from: Petlew
My boss of several years back used to go home for lunch. He'd had a blazing row with his next nearest junior manager over some point of order. He left to drive the around 5 miles to home. apparently felt unwell, parked the car in a lay-bay (this was surmised by the medics) he didn't need to or would ever normally use, keeled forward over the steering wheel and died of a massive heart-attack.
I was related to him by marriage as second cousin.
There is a lesson here, stress will increase your Blood Pressure which could increase your chances of a Heart Attack so it pays to try and be in a calm state of mind before and during driving although I accept this is often difficult.
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Further to my earlier post:
You may assume the junior manager was not the most popular person in the company following this incident. Heated and very public arguments were common that could be plainly heard all around the office area. The junior manager had been warned several times for exceeding his remit and deliberately winding up his boss.
Needless to say he showed not a jot of remorse, he was not invited to the funeral.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Not sure about putting into neutral, though. Sure, if your foot is stuck down on the accelerator but if it's off then keeping in gear would, surely, aid in the slowing process and help maintain some control?
What about investing in a set of dual controls?

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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

Quote from: Mav


What about investing in a set of dual controls?


Don`t be daft.... that would be tantamount to giving her driving lessons....  Shocked
she has no idea of left and right,    Undecided  ( is actually left handed )...    hasn`t got a clue as to navigation,  Huh  would get lost after two turnings from home.  Embarrassed  The car has a 5 speed & reverse gear box, with 3 pedals, co-ordination would be extremely difficult, to say the least....  Cheesy
so I have given her the first three instructions, and carried out a training exercise, so she knows what to do... !
CX
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

I agree with what others have said about focusing on the steering first and foremost.
Personally I wouldn't even touch the handbrake (unless you're travelling very slowly). Remember the incident a couple of years ago where a police officer was killed because some muppet passenger pulled the handbrake at 70mph . If a competent driver, at the wheel, was unable to control the vehicle, I don't think a passenger reaching across would stand a chance. There was a similar incident where a woman killed her husband pulling a similar stunt (although I believe drink was also a factor in that one).
If the car isn't slowing down on its own, and it can't be knocked/forced out of gear, guide it towards the central reservation crash barrier (if there is one). Remember to tell her that it only takes a TINY turn of the wheel to change lanes.
Or - "ghetto" dual controls -
1) Buy one of these cars: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13566999
2) Stamp down at the back of the passenger footwell
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Re: Heart attack whilst driving

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