TIPS: What to do if you’re stuck on the side of the highway

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 18, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - After the weekend death of a man killed while changing a tire along Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County, AAA Mid-Atlantic sent out some tips that could help save your life.

If you must pull over along the side of the interstate, AAA recommends:

Get to the Safest Place Possible      

  • Pull off the road as far as possible while remaining on level ground
  • If you cannot pull off the road as your vehicle is inoperable, switch on safety/emergency flashers. Do not risk personal injury by attempting to push it to a safe location. If you cannot get your vehicle to a location away from traffic or if you are uncertain about your safety and think your vehicle may be struck from behind, do not stay in your vehicle
  • Consider “limping” to a close exit to get completely off of the highway, even if it means bending your rim in the event of a flat tire
  • Determine the SAFEST place to remain until the situation is resolved. Under most circumstances and if you are able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle with the doors locked and the windows almost closed. Don’t leave the engine on for extended periods to heat or cool the vehicle as you risk carbon monoxide poisoning
  • If circumstances favor exiting the vehicle, do so  from the left side (or side away from the flow of traffic) and move as far away from the vehicle as possible. Women traveling alone should consider their surroundings carefully and make the best decision as to where to wait for help

Call for HELP

  • Call for help - Emergency responders have the advantage of flashing lights and reflective vests and can position their vehicle in a way to help to protect everyone while the repair is being made
  • If you determine help is within safe walking distance, place a note on the dashboard listing where  you are going for help and the time you left

Visibility is KEY 

  • Turn on Emergency Flashers
  • Position flares, reflective triangles or similar 10,100 and 300 feet behind your vehicle
  • Keep a reflective vest in your car and where it when needed
  • Never stand behind or directly in front of your vehicle as other roadway users may  have trouble seeing you
  • Open the hood and tie any piece of bright fabric or similar on your antenna