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What Should I Do if My Car Breaks Down on the Freeway?

Car Broken Down on the Side of the RoadEach year, countless individuals are injured along the freeways of California. It often starts with a flat tire, smoke from under the hood, or a mechanical breakdown that forces drivers to pull off to the side of the road. While unavoidable, this is extremely dangerous, putting the driver and all passengers at risk.

In an effort to keep you safe and avoid a such car accident injury, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has provided some helpful tips that discuss what to do in the event your vehicle becomes disabled on the freeway. (Hint: everything in the picture above is incorrect.)

  1. Safely pull to the right shoulder. If possible, park your car or truck near a call box (located every quarter mile or two miles on California freeways).
  1. If you absolutely have to exit your car or truck, get out on the right side, away from traffic. This means climbing over the center console and exiting through the passenger-side door in most circumstances.
  1. Once you have arranged for assistance to come help you, return to your vehicle by entering again from the right side (opposite traffic). Put on your seatbelt.
  1. Stay inside your car or truck—with your seatbelt on—until help arrives. In certain circumstances. The safest spot for you on the side of the freeway is in your vehicle. This provides a shell of protection not offered when standing freely alongside the road.

Use your emergency blinking lights (hazard lights) at your discretion and according to weather conditions. The lights may be helpful, but they may also attract drunk drivers, according to the DMV site.

If you are in a circumstance where there is not enough shoulder space, or if there is a guardrail or area to safely stay away from the freeway lanes, exit your car or truck (again from the side of the vehicle opposite traffic) and get a reasonable distance away from the vehicle and inside the safe area.

We are fortunate enough to live in a state that provides free emergency roadside services during commute periods. If your car or truck breaks down on the freeway in a few select regions, the California Highway Patrol’s Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) may be able to help you out. (Our area, Riverside, is served by the Inland Division of the FSP).

To contact the FSP unit nearest you, call 1-800-TELLCHP.

As Riverside car accident injury lawyers, we care about your safety, especially having seen far too many individuals suffer serious injury or death after their vehicle broke down on the freeway. Please be safe, act quickly, and keep the safety of other passengers and drivers in mind if your car or truck becomes disabled on a California freeway.

This articles photo comes courtesy of Flickr contributor, Andrij Bulba

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