While no one wants their vehicle to break down on a busy freeway, it is important that you know how to stay safe when it happens to you. Breaking down on a freeway is a life-threatening situation if you do not take the right actions. Here is what you need to know to stay safe next time you find yourself in this unfortunate situation:
Signal Other Drivers While Pulling Over
As soon as you hear, smell, or feel that your car is having a mechanical problem or flat tire, you should turn on your emergency flashers or turn signal and look for a safe place where you can park your car.
Get as Far Off the Right Side of the Highway as Possible
It is always best if you can pull your disabled car off of the busy freeway and onto an offramp. Cars passing on the offramp will be traveling at a slower speed and the drivers will be more alert as they pass. This makes an offramp a much safer place to park while you change a tire or wait for a tow truck.
If there are no offramps and you need to pull over immediately, then pull your car as far off of the roadway as possible along its right shoulder. You should avoid parking on the left shoulder because it is much more dangerous due to approaching traffic.
Make Sure Other Drivers Can See Your Disabled Vehicle
If passing motorists aren't able to clearly see your disabled vehicle and identify that it is parked, then they may crash into it and injure you. For this reason, you need to turn on your emergency flashers and lay flares along the shoulder leading up to where your car is parked.
(If you do not already carry emergency flares, then today is a great day to go to the auto parts store and buy some!)
Remain in Your Vehicle and Keep Your Seatbelt On
Once your car is parked, then you should remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and either call or wait for assistance. If you must get out to change a tire or troubleshoot a problem, then you should do so quickly.
Walk in the Opposite Direction as Traffic Flow
Finally, you should always avoid walking on the freeway if it is at all possible. However, sometimes you simply have no other choice because your cell phone's battery died or you have waited a long time and no one has come to your aid. If you absolutely must walk along the highway, then you should walk on the shoulder in the opposite direction of the traffic's flow. This both allows you to see oncoming traffic, and it is easier for passing motorists to see your face than it is the back of your head.
After you are in a safe position, the next step is to call a local towing service to your aid.