How many times has an ordinary drive turned into a frustrating, or even scary, situation? Flat tires, fender benders, engine trouble and more can all ruin your mood. What’s worse, these moments can often become dangerous, so use these roadside emergency tips to stay safe:
Whenever you encounter trouble on the road, move your car out of traffic whenever possible.
If your tire blows, slow down and pull to the right shoulder. Try not to drive too far on a flat tire to help minimize damage to your car, but also to avoid the chance of causing a collision with other vehicles.
In the event of a fender-bender (a minor accident with no injuries), you and the other driver should also move your vehicles out of traffic. In fact, if the incident happens on a divided freeway, the State of Colorado requires vehicles to be moved out of traffic “… as long as there are no injuries and no drugs or alcohol are involved.”
If you can’t move your car to safety due to engine trouble, for example, turn on your hazard lights or flashers and stay inside your car. Do not try to push your vehicle out of traffic if you are on a busy road, such as a freeway.
Even if you have pulled your vehicle off the road, your hazards can help alert other drivers to steer clear. If you have reflective emergency triangles or flares, you can also use those to warn other drivers.
Although you might know how to change a tire or assess minor engine trouble on your own, it’s often a good idea to call for help. The auto club or local police can help you fix your problem and/or get to safety more quickly in many cases. A tow truck or police cruiser can also help create a safer area to work on your car.
In the event of an accident, even a minor fender bender, call police. In Colorado, you are required to report all auto accidents anyway, and calling police can benefit you in many ways.
Stay in your car until help arrives.
While most drivers who pull over and offer assistance have good intentions, it’s a good idea to use some caution. You can ask the good samaritan to call for help, or ask him to watch and wait from his own car until help arrives.
While not recommended, if you do accept a ride from a good samaritan, be sure to ask for identification and let someone know where you’re going.
It’s about 10 degrees and snowing as we write this blog, so it’s a good time to remind you about winter driving safety.
The first step toward staying safe in your car this winter is a well-stocked car emergency kit. That kit should include a blanket, warm clothes, water and more in case you must stay in a cold car for any length of time. Ready.gov offers some good tips for building a car emergency kit.
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