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Till deaTh do us parT and my mechanic (may he live forever, or at least until I’m gone) looked at me in profound wonderment and said — without expletives — “Where did THAT question come from?” It worries me. What do you suggest Barbara do if I have a “medical event” while BY RAY MAGLIOZZI driving? — John Dear Car Talk: Well, first she should call her What can a passenger do to bring boyfriend and tell him the coast a car safely to a stop if the driver is clear. Actually, John, it is an should die while driving the car on unpleasant thing to think about, a highway? but there are things Barbara can do in such an emergency. Let’s say My wife sits in the passenger seat. you’re driving, and you suddenly She cannot drive or safely move from her seat without help. But she choke on a beef jerky at 65 mph. can reach the ignition key, steering We don’t know the details. Is your foot still on the gas? Are you using wheel and console gearshift with cruise control? Are you slumped her left hand. onto the steering wheel? We are blessed with a carefully maintained 2010 Toyota Venza, Let’s say all of those are true. What Barbara wants to do is avoid driving off the road, or into a bridge abutment. So, the first step is to grab the wheel and keep the car going straight. Next, she has to get the car to stop accelerating. She’ll do that by putting the car in neutral. Whether your foot is on the gas or the cruise control is set, shifting into neutral will cause the car to coast to a stop. You can have her practice putting the car in neutral a few times while you’re driving. Just don’t practice slumping over. She won’t find that funny. Once she has the car in neutral, she’ll want to steer the car out of harm’s way. With her left hand on the wheel, she should be able to slowly edge the car over to the shoulder of the road. If she really has her wits about her, show her where the emergency flashers are, and she can turn those on to alert other cars that you’re not just a lousy driver, John, but there’s an emergency. Once the car is safely on the shoulder of the road and stopped, or almost stopped, she can put the car in park and call for help. Hopefully, a Heimlich maneuver will bring you back so she can look forward to doing it all over again someday. *** Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com. © 2019 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.