A mechanical breakdown, flat tire or empty gas tank can force an automobile off the road, often placing the driver and passengers in a precarious location. When the vehicle becomes disabled along the roadway, it is essential to take proper action to ensure everyone’s safety.
Pull off the Road
For the safety of everyone, it is crucial to get the vehicle off the road as far and safely as possible. If the automobile is disabled along a busy roadway, or caught in traffic, the motorist should walk to a protective location if it can be done safely. If the automobile is stopped along the roadway’s shoulder, get out of the vehicle on the passenger side. Lock all doors and leave a note under the windshield wiper or on the dashboard in plain view in case law enforcement or roadside assistance arrives.
Increase the Vehicle’s Visibility
When the vehicle is coming to a stop in the roadway, or on the shoulder, it is important to make it is visible to other drivers as possible. Turn the vehicle hazard lights on. The flashing light will tell other motorists to watch out. When the vehicle has stopped, provide additional alerts for other motorists using any warning signal available, including hazard triangles, flares or warning lights. If possible, position all warning devices at a practical distance far behind the vehicle to allow other motorists to see the warning and take action in time.
Signal Immediate Distress
Motorist can signal their immediate distress if police assistance is required. This includes raising the hood, tying white cloth to the door handle or radio antenna, or draping white cloth so it hangs exposed along the top edge of the door after it is closed.
Staying inside the Vehicle
If the disabled vehicle is positioned in a safe location away from moving traffic or other hazards, motorists can stay inside until assistance arrives. However, it is essential for every occupant to keep their safety belt fastened and all the doors locked.
Remaining safe along the side of the road is crucial. Because of that, it is essential that motorists use their best judgment whenever accepting assistance from a stranger. Consider rolling down the window only far enough to speak to any suspicious individual. The motorist can indicate that other assistance is on the way and arriving soon, or ask the stranger to place a call for them to the police or for roadside assistance.