In the event of an emergency, you may need to stop on the shoulder of the highway. This is a dangerous place to stop, so take a look at these tips for how to do so safely if it absolutely cannot be avoided.
How to stay safe when you have to stop on the highway
The most important thing to know about stopping on the shoulder of the highway is that it should be avoided at all costs. This means that you should always take preventative measures—such as keeping your tires properly inflated and going to the mechanic when something starts to sound weird—and only stop if there is no other option. A flat tire can usually make it to the next exit, but a broken fuel line can’t. Get familiar with these tips in case you ever have to stop for an emergency.
- Stop on the right side: If you need to get off the road, do it quickly and with as much control as possible. Stopping on the right side of the road will get you out of traffic faster than swerving across traffic for the left side of the road.
- DON’T use your hand brake: Your hand brake is there for emergency braking when your normal brakes fail or when you need to stop as fast as possible in as little distance as possible. However, they are likely to cause skidding and swerving—exactly what you don’t want to happen if you have to stop on the highway.
- Make yourself visible: Turn on your hazards! Light up those road flares, if you have them! Keep honking your horn even when it starts to drive you crazy! Even if something seems excessive or obnoxious, keep doing it—anything that will alert other drivers to your presence is a good idea.
- Stay in your car: While it might seem like a good idea to get out and see what’s going on with your car, staying inside is safer (unless you smell lots of gas or are seeing sparks or flame). If you do have to get out of your car, do so on the left side of your car and retreat as far as possible from traffic.
- Call for help: Call a towing company, call your insurance company, call your mom—once you’ve arranged for help, keep your phone nearby and sit tight.
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