Nobody wants to think about the possibility of breaking down on the side of the road. Unfortunately, blown-out tires, overheating engines, and sudden electrical problems are just a few examples of car troubles that can leave you stranded. When your car stops working, you may be placed in a vulnerable position. This can be extremely dangerous. If you want to minimize your safety concerns, then read through the following tips to make sure that you are more than safe as you wait for the tow truck to arrive.
Pull Over in a Safe Space
While you probably cannot choose where you break down, you can try to move your car to a safe area on the side of the road before you turn off the engine. Keep in mind that you can drive several hundred yards on a flat tire as long as you reduce your speed to about 20 miles per hour. You can also go a short distance with an overheating engine as long as you turn on the heat in your car and slow down significantly. If your car stops working suddenly, then coasting with your car in neutral is a good choice.
As you prepare to pull over, look for the safest space possible. Move your vehicle as far to the right as possible with your hazard lights on. Make sure the shoulder is not located on a curve or on the top or bottom of a hill. You also want to remain as far from stop signs, traffic lights, and other junctions as possible. Try to pull over at least one hundred feet from retail entrances, thruway on-ramps, and driveways if possible.
If you are on a busy four-lane highway and no shoulder is available for you to safely pull over, then you can use the center turning lane in an emergency situation. However, this should only be done if there is no other safe place to stop. If you do this, then you should contact your local police immediately. A police officer can secure the area as you wait for a tow truck so injuries and accidents are avoided.
Make Yourself Obvious
Once you find a good place to pull over, you should make your vehicle as obvious as possible. Keeping your hazard lights on is a good way to do this. These lights will work whether your car is on or off, and they will remain on even if your car runs out of gas. This means that you can turn your vehicle off and expect the hazards to stay on. Keep in mind that the lights do require power from the battery. If your battery dies, the lights will turn off as well. If the temperature is extremely cold or hot, then your car battery may not retain a charge like it normally would. You should expect your hazards to turn off at some point, so use a secondary warning system to make sure that other drivers can see you.
If you prepare in advance for an emergency situation, then you can create a roadside kit for your vehicle. You should add magnetic roadside warning lights to your kit. These lights are small, round LED lights that run off a rechargeable lithium battery. The lights come in yellow and orange varieties to indicate an emergency situation. Most warning lights have different functions that allow the lights to remain solid or blink. If you want the lights to last several hours, then the blinking function is a good choice.
Orange warning triangles should be kept in your emergency kit as well. Place these triangles about 100 yards from the back of your vehicle to indicate that a hazard is ahead. If you must pull over at night, then place a flare behind your car instead. If you need to leave your car for any reason, like if you feel that you are in danger on the side of the road, then place a white plastic bag or a white cotton cloth in the window. The white object should be facing the road so the tow truck can easily identify your car.