Stopping a car on the side of the road is a dangerous scenario because the constant motion of traffic increases the risk of an additional accident or collision even while the vehicle is waiting for help. The wrong actions after an accident can increase the risk that someone is injured or killed in the aftermath. Drivers should know what to do to protect themselves and those on the road with them after a roadside incident. Here is a closer look at how to stay safe after a roadside emergency.
Drivers Should Get Off the Roadway and Call for Help
First, if at all possible, all vehicles involved in the accident or emergency should move to the side of the road. Pulling into the shoulder or an emergency lane during a roadside emergency can reduce the risk of a collision. Drivers should move as far from other traffic as possible. Once out of the line of traffic, the vehicle’s occupants should call for help and take an assessment of injuries, which will be important for a car accident lawyer to know later.
Drivers Need to Improve the Visibility of the Vehicle
Next, drivers should take measures to ensure others can see their vehicles. This can involve turning on the hazard lights, using flares to light up the vehicle, or raising the hood to make it obvious that the vehicle is in distress. Even tying a cloth around the antenna or hanging one from a window will improve the visibility of the vehicle.
Drivers Should Use Caution When Exiting the Car
If a car is damaged, drivers and passengers should use caution when deciding whether to exit. Staying away from moving traffic is critical to safety. If the passengers and driver can exit safely and walk away from the roadway to watch for help, this is usually the safest option. Occupants that cannot leave the vehicle safely should leave their safety belts latched in case of a collision. The vehicle’s occupants should remain near the vehicle until help arrives.
Bystanders and Other Drivers Need to Be Cautious “Good Samaritans”
Many drivers inadvertently make accidents and roadside emergencies worse when they stop to help, unintentionally increasing the risk of injuries. As long as the stranded motorist does not appear to be in immediate danger, the safest option is to call 911 to alert the emergency professionals to the problem, then keep driving.