Auto Road Service
“Staying Safe When Car Lets You Down”
Most all of us have been there… on the shoulder of the highway/road or in a parking lot feeling vulnerable. You may have a flat tire, ran out of gas, got stuck in a ditch or your car simply quit. In all these cases, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and stay calm. By staying calm, you can prioritize and make sound decisions to get your passengers and yourself off the side of the road as safely and quickly as possible. Priority number one is to get to as safe a location as possible. Things to consider are traffic patterns, time of day, passengers’ needs, and relative safety of your surroundings.
If you are on the side of highway or road, you should try to get your vehicle at least a car length (approx. 15 ft) off the road or away from the flow of traffic. Many times this will not be possible due to the inoperable state of your vehicle. If you cannot get your vehicle away from the traffic flow, you and passengers should consider leaving the automobile and seeking the relative safety of a nearby business or area (i.e., hill- side, yard, pull-off, etc.) removed from the roadway. You may need to call “911” and make the local police department aware of the situation if you cannot move your vehicle from a particularly dangerous location (i.e., blind-curve, traffic lane of highway).
When your vehicle lets you down, you should make a general assessment of your surroundings. Are you in a “bad” neighborhood? In a busy parking lot? Is it night? What types of individuals are around? Naturally, if you are in a familiar neighborhood or busy mall parking lot your safety may not be in question as much as being “broken-down” in a neighborhood on the “wrong-side of the tracks”. However, no matter the location, you don’t want to expose yourself unnecessarily to potential harm. So, don’t just sit in car with your hazard lights on in a dark parking lot when you can go into a crowded mall to wait for the tow truck driver to call you when he arrives. Maybe you don’t leave the hood up or hazards lights on while waiting in a street parking space for a tow truck to arrive. In other words, consider whether or not you want to draw attention to the fact your vehicle is inoperable. In some situations, the benefit of turning on the hazards lights may be out weighted by the desire to go unnoticed until your friendly neighborhood towing company arrives.
So, remember your first priority when you are left on the side of the road or in a deserted parking lot should be safety. You may have a flat tire, ran out of gas, stuck in a ditch or your car simply quit. In all these cases, you need to take a deep breath and stay calm. By staying calm, you can prioritize and make sound decisions to get your passengers and yourself out of a potential harmful environment. Things to consider include traffic patterns, time of day, passengers’ needs, and relative safety of your surroundings.