Last weekend we read about a couple of fatal car accidents that occurred after a car was disabled on the highway and was rear-ended by another vehicle. So, we thought we'd take this opportunity to advise you on what to do if your vehicle breaks down on a busy freeway or highway.
One of the scariest things for any motorist is to have their car or truck break down on a busy highway. It's especially dangerous during times of busy traffic, after dark or during inclement weather. One must keep their wits about them to insure ones own safety and the safety of passengers in the vehicle.
Whether your tire blew, your engine unexpectedly shut off, you simply ran out of gas, or you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should attempt to get your vehicle as far away from traffic as possible. Try to maneuver your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and onto the shoulder or even beyond the shoulder or emergency lane if possible. You want to avoid the possibility of another car hitting you.
If your vehicle is stopped in lanes of traffic, get out of your vehicle and get to safety if possible. However, you don't want to be in a situation where you are darting across lanes of traffic because you might get hit. Do not attempt to run across the highway unless you are absolutely sure you can make it.
Call 9-1-1 and let authorities know where you are if your vehicle is stuck in a dangerous place like a bridge or a freeway overpass. The state highway patrol can come and assist you and make sure that you are safe.
Turn on your hazard lights. Don't turn your vehicle off if possible because you want all of your lights and hazards still working. Raise your hood as another way to alert the highway patrol that you are broken down.
If you remain in your vehicle, keep your seat belt on. On some highways where traffic is moving quickly and drivers are coming home from bars or clubs, you want to make every precaution in case drivers are not paying attention.
Know where you are
When you call for help, one of the most frustrating aspects of a freeway breakdown is not being able to tell the 9-1-1 operator your location. If you don't know exactly where you are, try to approximate the driving time from a major sign that you saw, or the milepost number. Look for landmarks or businesses alongside the roadway. If you have a GPS on your cellphone, you can locate your position using the GPS.