Breaking down on the side of the highway isn't just frustrating, it can also be a bit frightening depending on the circumstances. The key is to know what to do to remain safe and ensure your vehicle is towed properly. Avoid the following mistakes that could put you or your car in danger.
#1: Standing next to your car
Getting out of your car is one of the most dangerous things you can do during a highway breakdown, as this increases your chances of injury – or worse – from passing motorists. If you must get out of your car briefly, then make sure there is no nearby traffic first. If possible, get out of the passenger side so you are opposite of passing cars. In the event it isn't safe to stay in the vehicle, such as if there are flames, then step back as far from the car and the roadway as possible, while still remaining visible to passing cars. Face into traffic so you can view any hazards that the oncoming cars could pose.
#2: Blocking traffic
In most cases you should be able to steer your vehicle off the road onto the shoulder or into a breakdown lane. Even if the car is smoking or making a horrible noise, slowly easing it off the road is safer than stopping and blocking the flow of traffic, since it only takes one distracted motorist to crash into the back of your vehicle. Turn on the hazard lights to alert passing motorists that you are on the side of the road. If the hazards aren't working or if the situation warrants it, you can carefully exit the vehicle to set cones or flares from your roadside emergency kit.
#3: Not checking credentials
Don't accept help from passing motorists unless they serve in an official capacity, such as a highway patrolman. If you have already called for roadside assistance, you can simply let anyone that stops know that someone is on their way. Although most passing motorists are trying to help, it's better to be safe rather than sorry. When calling roadside assistance, you should also ask for the driver's name or plate number so you can verify that any tow truck that stops is with your roadside service company. Some companies even send a text now with this information or a picture of the driver to make verification even easier.
For more help, talk to a roadside assistance provider in your area. For more information, contact companies like Collins Service Center.