Safety should be your first concern when you’re the recipient of a sudden flat tire, mechanical breakdown or an empty gas tank. The following actions will help ensure your safety.
Turn on Hazard Lights
The moment you’ve experienced a major car problem, take your foot off of the gas pedal and turn on your hazard lights. This will alert other drivers that you’ll be moving into a safer position and they will most likely give you the space needed to maneuver.
Get off the Road
Getting the car off of a highway or major street will increase your safety. On a highway, you’ll want to pull as far off the road as possible to keep out of the way of traffic. If you pull off onto the right shoulder and your car is still partially in a live traffic lane, get out of the car on the passenger side and move to a safe area.
Notify the Police
Calling the police allows them to dispatch an officer for your safety and the safety of the other cars. The officer will also be able to direct traffic should you require towing or a lane to be temporarily closed down.
Make your Vehicle Visible
Setting up hazard lights to alert other drives of your car’s presence will help. To encourage drivers to change into a lane further away from your car can be done with a set of three or more emergency lights set up every 20 steps from your car.
Display a Distress Signal
If you are unable to contact the police, you can end a distress signal by raising your hood or tying a white rag to an antenna, door handle, or bumper. You can also open the window to pinch the white rag in place. Or, purchase some inexpensive strobe lights to keep handy in the trunk.
Keep the Doors Locked
If the vehicle is in a safe location, you should wait inside. Keep the doors locked and the safety belts fastened. If, however, you need to move away from the car, keep it locked to avoid auto theft.
Be very careful with volunteers wanting to help. While an off duty mechanic might give you ideal service, you might have a predator offering to help. Using good judgment in accepting help from strangers can be critical, especially at night. If you need help from a stranger, ask him or her to make a phone call for you, while you stay in your locked car.