Your vehicle runs out of gas, you get a flat tire, or you experience a mechanical breakdown while driving on the highway: for drivers it’s not a matter of if, but when. Even well-maintained cars experience mechanical malfunctions. A disabled vehicle can put your safety at risk, especially if it happens in a heavily trafficked area. This is why the following tips can be life-saving when the unexpected happens.

According to AAA’s statistics, nearly 600 people die annually as pedestrians on American interstates.

  • Remain cool, calm and collected – Panicking could cause you to make rash decisions and you need to carefully thinkthrough your actions.
  • The key is to get out of the active lane of travel as quickly and safely as possible. Try and pull over to the shoulder until you’re safely away from curves in the road behind you.
  • If you run out of gas or your engine stops, switch on the emergency/safety flashers and carefully steer your vehicle out of traffic.
  • Never assume that other drivers can see you. Make sure your vehicle is visible and conspicuous as possible. Raise your hood or tie something white to the window, this way law enforcement officers know you need help.
  • Hazard lights are critical because they act as a warning sign for other drivers. Drivers will give you more space and let you get to safety.
  • It’s a good habit to keep a flashlight in your car in case you break down at night along with a first aid kit to treat minor injuries.
  • Unless there’s smoke or fire, stay inside your vehicle, even if your engine dies in the middle of the interstate. You never want to try and cross multiple lanes of a high-speed highway. Remember to keep your seatbelt fastened and your doors locked.
  • If you absolutely have to walk for help, stay on the left-hand shoulder facing traffic. While this won’t allow drivers to see you any easier, this will allow you to react if they get too close for comfort.
  • If it is safe to get out of your car, place a hazard triangle or flare about 50 feet behind your car to give other drivers more warning.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and know where you are in relation to a major exit or cross street.
  • Remain vigilant if you break down somewhere other than the interstate since you will be dealing with smaller shoulders and decreased visibility.
  • Keep a cell phone with a fully charged battery for emergencies. Use it to call for assistance or a tow truck. It’s also a good idea to have roadside assistance programmed into your phone.
  • If a stranger stops and offers help, open the window slightly to talk but don’t open the doors.

Proper maintenance is another critical component to ensure your vehicle operates at peak performance.

  • Get in the habit of conducting periodic safety checks on your tires, lights, belts, hoses, fluids and windshield wipers.
  • Make sure you read your owner’s manual to understand clearly what your dash lights and warning signals mean.

Being prepared is the best line of defense when it comes to unexpected car issues and auto accidents. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries, medical expenses and more.

The Eichholz Law Firm offers FREE case consultations. Fill out our FREE case evaluation form or call
(866)947-7449 for help today.