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Passenger should 'take the wheel' if driver is having a medical emergency

Passenger should "take the wheel" if driver is having a medical emergency. (WGXA/Claudia Coco)

MACON, Ga. (WGXA) - Medical emergencies can happen at the most inconvenient times, like when someone's driving a car. Capt. Shane Cook with Monroe County Emergency Services said they get several calls a month concerning people who have medical emergencies while driving.

Cook said if you're in the passenger seat, the first thing you need to do is take control of the steering wheel.

"The second thing you want to do is slow or stop the vehicle, so if you have control of the steering wheel, a lot of vehicles have a center brake and you want to pull that up slowly as you move to the side of the road," said Cook.

He said you can also put the car in neutral, and if the driver's foot is still pressing on the gas, there are a couple things you can do.

"You can try to take your foot and put it over to the driver's side of the wheel area and try to hit the brakes or get their foot off the gas," Cook said.

He said if this happens while you're a passenger in the car, it's important for the car to stay on.

"You definitely don't want to turn off the engine," said Cook. "A lot of vehicles when you cut the engine off, you lose the power brakes and the power steering."

He said this is one of the few occasions where you want to wait to call 911 until you're safely on the side of the road.

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