As a personal injury lawyer, I represent clients who have been in a car crash and have sustained injuries as a result. Most of the time, these accidents happen while driving responsibly, but the distracted, drunk, or careless driver next to you caused the wreck. This makes it important to practice defensive driving and pay attention to what is happening around you. It also makes it important to ensure your car is in proper working order at all times. After all, if your car suddenly decelerates or breaks down, there is a good chance other drivers will not notice until it is too late. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can use to stay safe if your car is giving you trouble or has broken down.
Pay attention to how your car is driving. You may be able to catch an issue in time to prevent a full breakdown in the middle of the road. For example, if a warning light comes on, exit the road, pull into a parking lot, and see what is wrong. You can also do this if you smell anything strange, if your car is running at too high an RPM if it appears to be overheating, or you hear odd noises. By simply paying attention, you can avoid the hassle and potential danger of your car stalling in the middle of the road.
Exit carefully. If you do not have time to exit the road like normal, put on your hazard lights and move your car to the right shoulder. If you are going slower than the speed limit, you must do this very carefully, since there is no guarantee other drivers will see you. As a personal injury lawyer, I have seen people get rear-ended because they were driving slower than other drivers expected them to be. This is why using your hazards is so important.
Get your passengers to safety. Everyone should stand a few feet away from the passenger side of the vehicle. This is typically the safest place to wait since both behind and in front of the car are notorious places for being hit by oncoming traffic.
Open the hood. One of the most important things you can do to stay safe is to make sure people can see you. Unfortunately, most drivers do not pay attention to what is happening around them, so you need to do things like prop open the hood of your car and start your flashing lights to make sure they do see you and subsequently avoid hitting you.
Call for help. You can call the state patrol or AAA, and they will send someone out to assist you. While waiting, stay away from oncoming traffic. The risk of being hit as a pedestrian is high, so you want to be extremely cautious and not walk down the freeway or a busy thoroughfare unless you are on a road with the proper sidewalks.
As a personal injury lawyer, I can represent you if you are ever in an accident, even if that accident occurred because your car stopped working properly.