This week’s safety tip concerns how to deal with emergency stops on a freeway. This can, of course, be a very stressful experience for a driver, especially if the spot where the vehicle breaks down happens to be out of cell phone range or the driver’s phone battery is drained.
Some freeways have emergency call boxes so help is still just a call away. On the other hand, these units aren’t always maintained and operable – and they’re certainly not ubiquitous. So you may want to pass this advice along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder so they’re better prepared for those unexpected detours through Murphy’s Law Expressway.
Here’s some advice from the Arizona Driver License Manual:
• If you need assistance, pull over onto the right shoulder as far as possible. Avoid stopping your vehicle on or near freeway ramps.
• To signal for assistance on the freeway, turn on your emergency flashers. If possible, tie a white handkerchief or scarf to the radio antenna, or raise the hood of the car. To signal after dark, turn on your inside dome light and/or set out flares or portable warning signals. Law enforcement officers and tow truck operators will recognize these signals.
• Wait for help. Do not start walking along the freeway.
• While driving on the freeway, watch for disabled vehicles. If you are the first motorist to approach a disabled vehicle, reduce your speed and turn on your emergency flashers; then proceed around the disabled vehicle with caution.
Here’s some advice from the National Safety Council:
• Don’t try to flag down other drivers for help. Watch for police or other emergency personnel. All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled on a routine basis.
• Wait for help inside the vehicle and keep the doors locked. Don’t stand behind or next to your vehicle. If another motorist stops to offer help, roll down the window and ask the person to call the police.
• Walking along the side of a freeway is always inadvisable, especially during inclement weather. But if a source of help is just a short walk away and you’re certain you won’t be jeopardizing your safety, walk on the right side of the roadway as far from traffic as possible. But never attempt to cross a multi-lane, high-speed roadway. Even if that gas station sign on the other side looks tempting. Even if you ran track in high school. Don’t even think about it.