5 Safety Tips: Stopping On the Highway
Sometimes, life throws unexpected curves at you. One day, you might find yourself stalled on the interstate. Even though you hope it never happen, you also have no control over it. Rather than panicking, it makes sense to be prepared for the situation and understand how to keep yourself safe. Here are 5 important safety tips to consider when stranded on a highway and need to find a solution.
1. Use Your Hazard Lights
Hazard lights exist in every car for a reason. They help you alert those around you that something outside the norm is going on. When trying to get to an area where you can safely stop as your car is stalling, you need to draw attention to your vehicle for any other drivers. So be sure to turn on your hazard lights as quickly as possible, especially if you are trying to coast your car over to the side of the road where it’s out of immediate danger.
2. Pull Over, If Possible
Put simply, the side or shoulder of the road is the safest place to be when you are on a highway and are having car problems. It allows you to be outside of the danger zone for fast-moving vehicles of all sizes, helping you take the steps below from a safer position. As soon as you are noticing vehicles issues, try to make your way to the shoulder to pull off if at all possible.
3. Avoid Leaving Your Vehicle
Unless your car is smoking, or you are afraid of something being on fire, you should try to stay in your vehicle. Walking around on the side of the road puts you in immediate danger, whereas staying inside adds a layer of protection against moving cars. If your car has stalled out in the middle of the road, although you may feel nervous to sit in your car. But in that case, it is even more dangerous to attempt an exit and cross a busy interstate. Avoiding disaster if stalled on the interstate means waiting in the safest possible spot until professional help arrives.
What Happens if You Have to Leave?
Although staying in your vehicle is always recommended, there might be situations in which you have to leave in order to get gasoline or other types of help. When that happens, be sure to take note of your surroundings and the physical conditions. Fog, ice, darkness, curvy and hilly roads, and other factors can limit sight lines that will make it difficult for another car to stop next to you. The more you know before you get out, the safer you and anyone helping you will be. If others are in the vehicle with you, communicate well to keep each other safe.
4. Pop Your Hood, Or Use A White Towel Or Cloth
Popping your hood will help to alert others that you are having car problems. Especially if you break down in the middle of the highway, it adds to your hazard lights in drawing the attention of other drivers who can drive around you. When it’s safer to stay in the vehicle, use a white towel or cloth: simply roll down your window and place the cloth in it, then put the window back up. This is a very clear signal to others that the car is broken down; police vehicles, which are common in busy highways, will also be able to spot you more easily and help you more quickly.
5. Know Who To Call
If your vehicle breaks down on the road and you need help, you should know exactly where your first phone call needs to go. If you’re not sure, calling 911 should be your first step. But if you are a member of any kind of vehicle service, refer to that information (which you should carry just in case). Your breakdown might be covered, sometimes even including the towing expense. Know your insurance policy in case you need it for the help you call.
Especially if you drive on highways regularly, you should internalize a few tips for safety when stopping on an interstate ahead of any emergency just in case you need it. No matter the situation, getting stranded on the highway can be a stressful ordeal. Preparing yourself for the scenario can ease your mind and keep you calm. That, in turn, helps you think more clearly, keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
If you have questions, or are looking for additional safety material or teen driving support materials, contact your independent insurance agent for additional information
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