by Doris Donnerman
(last updated May 25, 2010)
I remember one time in college when my father-in-law was driving my wife's car. All of a sudden the hood flew open and bent backwards against the windshield. The hood wasn't latched securely, and the wind caused by the moving car managed to wedge under the leading edge of the hood and made it fly open.
Having your car hood fly up, unexpectedly, can be a real surprise. If it does happen, you'll need to think clearly to react without causing an even bigger problem.
Your first concern needs to be the vehicles around you. If you are in traffic that is moving rather smoothly and you aren't following the car in front too closely, your bigger concern is the car behind. For this reason, you shouldn't slam on the brakes, as the car behind may be just as shocked by your hood flying up as you are. If your hood captivates the driver's attention, he or she might not notice your brake lights and could run into your car.
Slow down carefully and pull off the road as soon as possible. Steer the car by sticking your head out the side window, opening it if necessary. You could also peer over your dashboard, just under the edge of the up-turned hood.
If you are in congested traffic, or if you are in stop-and-go traffic, your options are more limited. You don't have the luxury of taking your time to slow down, and you may need to be more aggressive in braking. Just be careful—your immediate concern is still the car behind you and the one in front of you.
Once you've pulled off the road and stopped the car, take a moment to regain your wits. Try to push your hood back down. If you were going fast enough, it is possible that the hinge arms on the hood are bent or that the hood itself is damaged. Close it as fully as you can, and secure it with some rope or a bungee cord. You'll need to drive to your local auto repair shop (one that does body work) to get the hood fixed or possibly replaced.
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