Staying safe during a roadside emergency requires planning ahead and taking action immediately. In many cases, your first thought won’t be “what should I do now?” It will be “oh no.” That’s okay! That’s how most people react when they experience emergencies. But here are some tips that can help you after you blurt out “oh no!”.
- Be visible: When you pull over, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that you’re in distress. If it’s dark outside, turn on your interior dome light so drivers can see you. If your car is safe to operate, use your high beams to make yourself more visible.
- Turn off your engine: It may be tempting to sit in a warm car during the winter, but don’t leave your vehicle running if you won’t be moving. The exhaust pipe is close to the ground and carbon monoxide fumes can leak into your car. This is especially dangerous if there is snow on the ground that could block the exhaust pipe.
- Stay (relatively) near your car: Never leave your vehicle while standing on a busy roadway or freeway. Your car will provide some level of protection from moving cars and it’s a good flag for others to know not to hit you. If you have flares or warning triangles, use them around your vehicle only if it’s safely off the road.
- Keep your lights on: Although it’s common to turn off your lights when you’re parked, doing so can make your car harder to see at night. Not only will leaving them on help other drivers stay safe, but it can also alert law enforcement that you need assistance. Take precautions to protect yourself against identity theft. Don’t leave ID cards, passports, bank account numbers and other pieces of personal information out in the open in your car especially if it’s unlocked.
- Turn on hazard lights and use reflective gear: Hazard lights are on your vehicle for safety reasons. You should turn them on when you pull over, even if it’s during daylight hours. Use reflective gear, as well. You can find reflective vests at most gas stations and convenience stores. These garments make it easier for other drivers to see you in dark conditions. Bright colours such as yellow and orange work well, too; wear them if possible if you have to get out of your car in low visibility conditions.
- Keep your doors locked: Experts say that it’s best to keep your doors locked when you’re in your car. If you’re pulled off to the side of the road, this is especially important because there will be people walking by or driving by who could try to open your door. Remain in the car and wait for help.
- Light up the area: It’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car that includes a flashlight. Put flares behind and in front of your car if you have them, as well as on the roadside. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Dress for the weather: If you can anticipate a potential problem with your car, be sure to dress appropriately for the weather before heading out on the road. This will prevent you from getting too hot or too cold while waiting for help. Make sure you have everything you need before leaving home: If you are driving far away. It can be nerve-wracking being stranded by the side of the road, especially if you’re alone. Remaining in your car is the safest thing for you to do. Your vehicle can provide protection if the weather is bad, and it helps ensure that others can see you and know that you need help. Don’t sleep in your car: If you find yourself in a difficult situation where you have no other option but to fall asleep in your car, make sure to lock the doors and keep the keys with you.
- Use caution when getting out of your vehicle: Never stand behind or beside your vehicle during an emergency situation. Don’t get out of your car until help has arrived or it is safe to do so. Raise the hood as a sign of distress if you’re unable to move your vehicle to safety. The goal is to not panic, think about your situation and what to do next and be aware of your surroundings.
- Be careful about accepting help: It’s best to call professionals or a trusted friend or family member who can help. Strangers who realise you’re in distress may stop to help. They may be well-meaning, but proceed with caution. Lower your window just enough to converse through, and exercise your best judgement in accepting their assistance. If you’re waiting for roadside assistance or a tow truck, thank them for their aid but assure them that you’ll be taken care of. Cars driving on a busy highway have little time to react to an unexpected obstacle in the roadway. It may be risky for both you and other cars if you broke down on the shoulder of an interstate exit ramp with no caution signs up behind your car. Check that your danger lights are turned on.
Be sure to save the number of roadside assistance on your phone before heading out on a long trip. This ensures that even if you’re in an area with spotty signal, you have the means to call for help. It’s also well worth considering subscribing to an on-demand emergency service such as those powered by AURA. This ensures you can call for help at the touch of a button if you’re ever feeling unsafe while waiting for mechanical assistance or a tow truck to arrive.
The closest security responder will be directed to your exact location via GPS within minutes and you can track them as they make their way to you, providing an unparalleled level of safety for you and your loved ones.