Roadside Emergency SafetyAuto Smarts
10 Smart Steps for a Roadside Emergency
You hit a massive pothole and hear your tire pop.
You’re on the highway and smoke starts billowing from your engine.
Your check engine light comes on and something smells funny in your car.
You hit a massive bug and it clogs your intake valve.
This stuff happens all the time (ok, maybe not the bug one)…and when it does you can react one of two ways; you can panic or you can be smart.
To handle roadside emergencies the smart way, follow these 10 steps:
1. Get off the road
First things first, if you’re driving and something happens to your car, move off the road quickly (and safely). Get out of the flow of traffic. Look for a wide shoulder, emergency lane, rest stop, exit, or parking lot. You always want to move towards the furthest right lane or shoulder. But even if it means destroying a blown tire or wheel well in the process, you need to pull over! Just remember to never stop in traffic or places that are hard to see, like blind corners, over hills, or on narrow roads and bridges.
2. Let people know there’s something wrong
Find the hazard button in your car (t’s the big one with the red triangle on it) and put your hazard lights on. This’ll let people know you’ve got car issues and not just taking a little mid-trip snooze.
3. Don’t leave the car until you’re out of traffic
Never get out of the car until you’ve safely moved it out of the flow of traffic. If you can’t get your car out of harm’s way, don’t get out, even to pop the hood or check out the damage.
4. Safely exit the car
If it’s safe, get out of the car on the opposite side of traffic, even if you have to crawl over the passenger seat. Like getting out of a taxi, you never want to open the car door on the traffic side! Once you’re out of the car though, go ahead and pop the hood, check out your tire, examine the damage and attempt any kind of repairs (if you know what you’re doing). Generally speaking though, it’s safer to keep everyone clear of the car and wait for help to come.
5. Increase your visibility
You may want to mark your location with flares or triangles. At the very least you’ll want to raise your vehicle’s hood. This’ll let everyone know that you’re having car problems and need help.
6. Call Farmers Roadside Assistance
We’re here to help, 24/7. So put this number in your phone and call (800) 435-7764 any time for a jump start or tow to the nearest vehicle repair location.
7. Stay with your car
It’s important not to leave your car. It may take some time, but it’s more practical to meet help, a tow truck, or the police at the scene of your disabled vehicle than at a nearby burger joint.
8. Keep some emergency supplies in your car
Take a lesson from the Boy Scouts and always be prepared! Keep a blanket and first aid kit (or at least some water) in your car. And if you know how to use them, it’s also a good idea to have a spare tire, jack, fix-a-flat, and other simple repair tools in the car.
9. Put your hood down
If you’re done changing the tire or the tow-truck is on the scene, put the hood down and store any flares or other emergency signals. Otherwise a driver may try to risk slowing down to help.
10. Be green! Clean up the scene
Clean up whatever packaging, trash, and debris you left around the area. Littering is bad news, and abandoning a broken car part is wasteful and could be a road hazard for other drivers.