Even the newest and best-maintained car can run into trouble on the road. From a flat tire to an overheating engine, there are a number of reasons you might find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Being prepared for such an event is the best way to ensure you – and anyone in your car – stay safe while changing a flat or awaiting help.

Side of the Road Safety

When you find yourself having car trouble, pull over as far off the road and onto the shoulder as you can, and immediately turn on your hazard signals to warn other drivers that there is a problem. Use caution when stepping out of your vehicle; if you can, get out on the shoulder side and not the road side. Keep any children in the car safely inside and belted in so they won’t wander around while you check on the problem.

Especially at night, it is important to set up a warning sign for other vehicles that the car is on the side of the road immobile. Emergency flares or battery-powered warning lights set up several feet apart in the direction of vehicles approaching the site are the best way to do this. This is even more vital if you can’t get the car entirely off the road.

While changing a tire is a good skill to learn, if you aren’t able to do so or aren’t sure what is wrong with the car, stay inside the vehicle and call for assistance. Wait in the car until help arrives. If you need to flag someone down to go for help, do so very cautiously.