I’m Ed Smith, a Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer. Most people don’t think about their car breaking down while driving in the city or along the highway, but it happens at times. Following are some tips that may help you in this type of emergency.
First of all, don’t panic. Hopefully, your car still has a little energy left in the engine, so you can pull over to the side, even if you have to coast. If it does come to a dead stop on the road or a city street, and you can’t restart the engine, turn on your flashers. According to Automobile Association of America, it is important to note the location of the car. Use the proximity to exit ramps or mile posts.
Pull Over to the Side of the Street or Road if Possible
If you do manage to get your vehicle to the shoulder of the road, turn on the flashers to warn oncoming traffic, put your car in park, employ the emergency brake and turn your wheels, so they face away from the roadway. Turning your wheels will keep your vehicle from rolling back onto the road and also protects other vehicles if yours gets hit by accident.
Warning Other Traffic
Remember that it’s a bad idea to use emergency flashers by themselves at night because other drivers might think your vehicle is still moving. After dark, use your flashers, but add emergency triangles or road flares. Place one near the vehicle about 10 feet behind it, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles recommends placing triangles or flares from 200 to 300 feet behind your vehicle. This gives other motorists plenty of warning and time to change lanes. It still might be a good idea to raise the hood on the vehicle, and leave a door open on the passenger side so the interior lights will stay on.
Calling for Help
Most people carry a cell phone along with them, which makes it easy to summon assistance. Call the auto club or a tow truck. If you don’t have a phone with you, you might be able to find a call box close by inside major cities. If you’re on the highway, just wait for assistance from the highway patrol. It is a good idea to keep the telephone number of a repair shop or auto assistance club in the glove box of your vehicle or on your cell phone.
When to Stay in Your Vehicle
Use extra caution getting out of your car. Since you are stationary, it can be difficult to judge the speed of a vehicle that will be passing you. If you have gotten your car off to the shoulder, exit from the passenger side for extra safety, and do not stay near the vehicle. Move back to a safe spot off the road to wait for help. If it is safer to stay in the car, remember to keep your seat belt on. When the engine is smoking or the car begins to burn, you have no choice. Get out.
Changing a Tire
If you have a flat tire on the driver’s side, even if parked on the highway’s shoulder, don’t try to change it. Just wait for the auto club or the California Highway Patrol. Changing a tire on the driver’s side of the vehicle while cars are whizzing by you at high speed on the interstate can turn deadly. It is safer to change a tire on the passenger side if you’re off the road.
Exercise Safety Precautions
Do not stand next to or behind a disabled vehicle to wait for help. Trying to flag down another vehicle for help is also not advised. This could unintentionally cause an accident with that vehicle or be asking the wrong stranger for assistance.
Staying In or Getting Out of the Vehicle
If the vehicle cannot be removed from the road, it’s a good idea to get out, watching carefully for traffic, and wait by the side of the road for help. In a safe area, stay inside the vehicle. Never walk on the highway itself. If bad weather makes it necessary to walk for assistance, walk along the right side, and never try to cross a busy highway on foot.
Thousand Oaks Personal Injury Lawyer
I have worked as a traumatic injury attorney in California for over 35 years in the areas of car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death and other injuries.
I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group comprised of attorneys who have $1 million and multimillion settlements and verdicts.
A high record of settlements and verdicts that help clients obtain appropriate damages is important. See mine at Past Verdicts and Settlements.
Photo Attribution: https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-134707067/stock-photo-blue-car-with-flat-tire-on-the-road-flatten-tyre