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How to Stay Safe When Stranded


Avoid any sudden or panic-inspired maneuvers. Signal and pull completely off the road onto the shoulder.


Turn on your emergency flashers once you're safely off the road. Use extreme caution when getting out of your vehicle, being sure to exit from the passenger side to avoid the risk of being struck by traffic.


Call for help if you have a cellular phone or any other communications device. Prepare to provide your exact location, including the highway and mile marker or a major landmark. If you must walk to the nearest phone or gas station, stay completely off the road when doing so.


Set up reflectors, flares or other signal devices if you have them to alert passing motorists as soon as possible.


Stay in your car, lock all the doors and roll up the windows when waiting for assistance, assuming the temperature permits. Be prepared to wait for awhile, since towing companies get busy and service is typically slow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Roll the window down just a little if anyone other than a uniformed police officer stops. Tell them you've already phoned the police, but ask them to call again the police, a towing company, your auto club or a nearby service station. Use the same strategy if you need to flag someone down for help. Do not ask anyone who appears to be impaired by alcohol or drugs for help.
  • Use your best judgment in deciding whether to stay with your vehicle or to go for help, since surroundings and hazards vary.
  • If you must flag someone down for help, tellhitchhike, avoid accepting a ride from anyone who appears suspicious or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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