If a flat tire, mechanical breakdown, or empty fuel tank forces you to stop driving, the most important thing is to take actions that ensure your safety.
Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:
Get off the road
Pull your vehicle as far off of the road as safely possible. If your vehicle is in or near traffic and you can safely walk to another location, do it. If the vehicle is parked on the shoulder of a busy highway, exit on the passenger side. Lock the door and leave a note on the windshield with your mobile phone number in case roadside assistance or the police stop by the vehicle.
Make your vehicle as visible as possible
At the minimum, turn on the hazard lights as soon as you realize that your vehicle has problems. Once stopped, use any warning signals that you have—flares, hazard triangle, or a warning light—to alert other motorists of your vehicle's presence. Place the warning device as far behind your car as practical to give other motorists as much notice as possible.
Display a distress signal
If you need police help, raise the hood or tie a white cloth to the radio antenna or door handle, or hang the cloth out of the top of the door and close it on the cloth.
Keep the doors locked
If the vehicle is in a safe location, you should wait inside. Keep the doors locked and the safety belts fastened.
Use good judgment in accepting help from strangers. If someone of whom you're suspicious stops, lower the window only enough to talk. If you're waiting for help, thank them for stopping but tell them you're OK. If you need help, ask them to make a call for you.
Here's a short checklist of the basic items every car should always have:
- Cell phone. You can't call for help without a phone. And a mobile charger will help too since areas with weak cellular reception can kill your phone's battery.
- First-aid kit. Pack basic non-prescription drugs in your emergency medical , such as pain killers to handle holiday shopping headaches.
- Fire extinguisher. A compact dry powder unit that's labeled "1A10BC" or "2A10BC" can handle fires fueled by solids (plastic, rubber, paper, etc.) as well as by combustible liquids and gases.
- Warning light, hazard triangle, or flares. Give motorists the heads-up that you're stuck at the side of the road.
- Jack and lug wrench, foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit. Most newer model cars don't have spare tires anymore, so make sure you know how to use the car's included "mobility kit"—and how to reach roadside assistance if you have a severe flat tire.
- Jumper cables or a portable battery booster. New, "mini-jumpers" can start your car as well as provide back-up power for your smartphone, tablet, GPS navigation unit, or other portable electronic device.
- Flashlight. Remember, you have fewer hours of daylight in most parts of the country during the fall and winter seasons. A head-mounted light can be especially helpful during tire changes.
If you are having a roadside emergency, please call Patterson Towing Services 24/7 at 256-234-3981 for quick assistance