Margaret Pittelkow: Even well-maintained vehicles can find themselves stuck on the side of the road. Surroundings, traffic patterns, and vehicle hazards can all be very dangerous for the stranded motorists. And while it's impossible to establish rigid rules for all conditions these basic tips can help the next time your car breaks down.
If your vehicle has an issue, exit on the far right shoulder. If you get out of your vehicle, proceed carefully and watch for oncoming traffic. Never stand behind or directly in front of your vehicle, don't risk injury by attempting to push it to a safe location.
Make sure your vehicle is visible to other motorists, turn on emergency flashers, raise the hood, and place flayers or warning triangles to direct oncoming traffic away from the vehicle. Notice where you are in relation to major exit or cross streets. You need this information when calling assistance.
Once you're in a safe location use a cellphone to immediately notify others of your vehicle breakdown, describe the problem as thoroughly as possible, tell the responder your phone number, the exact location, the vehicle description, and the license plate number. Finally, determine how long you have to wait.
Your service provider should be able to give you an estimated time of arrival. Safety experts agree that under more circumstances it is safest to remain in your vehicle. With these tips the next time your vehicle breaks down, you'll know how to stay safe until help arrives.