The one thing you should never do if you car breaks down — or you’re in an accident

Posted at 10:37 PM, Sep 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-13 22:39:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- From Saturday afternoon into the early hours of Sunday morning, there were three fatal car accidents in the Richmond metro area.

Two of the accidents involved people who got out of their cars on the side of the road.

Saturday night, Travious Garrison, 26, was struck by a car while changing a tire on Hull Street Road in Amelia County. Earlier that day, Rhoda Smith, 47 was killed in a 5 car pile up on Route 288. In the mist of the accident, a man got out of his truck to help others involved in the massive wreck and he got pinned under his Nissan Titan.

WTVR CBS 6 reached out to AAA to get advice on how to safely address car issues while on the side of busy roads.

"It's important to remember that we live in a very distracted world and sometimes things as easy as changing a tire can be deadly," Martha Meade with AAA said.

Meade said if you are able, you need to get your car off of the interstate before addressing car troubles.

"Even if it means limping or bending the rim of your tire, or causing slightly more damage," she said. "It is better to live and pay a bigger car repair bill than to risk your life on the side of the road."

AAA officials explained that in some situations it is beneficial to stay in you car and wait for help. However, they say if you fear you will be rear-ended, you need to turn on your hazard lights, get out of your car, and walk as a far away from your car as possible while you wait for help.

"If you have to get out of the vehicle you want to get out on the side away from traffic and you never want to stand in front of or behind your vehicle because another vehicle can sandwich you in between," explained Meade.

Experts advise, even if you know how to change a tire, do not pull over on a road or interstate do it alone, they said you should call for help from police or a tow truck.

Meade told CBS 6, first responders' flashing lights, flares, and road signs could be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major tragedy.

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