Who could have seen that giant piece of tractor trailer in the middle of the highway at 3 am when its raining and pitch black? Or that box of nails? Or maybe you just looked at the GPS for like 2 seconds and that guard rail came out of nowhere!
Whatever happens there's no need to be embarrassed, we've all been there. But here's 5 tips on how to keep yourself and your passengers safe when these inevitable accidents occur. Brought to you by DN Safety Products
1. Know where you are.
Towing companies or first responders will need to know where you are in order to help! Take note of what exit you are near, or the closest cross street. Look for landmarks like gas stations, businesses and restaurants. If you're on a highway look around for mile markers or exit signs.
Techno-Tip: Pull out that state of the art cell phone and put it to use! Take a look at the GPS to get pretty accurate location, just be careful in areas with poor service, your GPS could say you are miles away!
2. Get off the road!
Make sure your vehicle or at least you and the occupants are out of harms way. On most roads, pull your vehicle to the far right shoulder (On some highways you may need to pull left to the center median). What if you can't get your vehicle off the road? Assess your situation. Immediately turn on your emergency flashers. If you feel that your vehicle could get hit from behind, GET OUT, and get away from the vehicle. Never stand behind or in front of a vehicle, check for oncoming traffic and carefully get off to the side of the road.
3. Make yourself seen.
The visibility of your vehicle or your occupants could be the difference between life and death. Have you ever seen a video of a pile up during a snow storm like this one? It's not pretty. So make sure you are seen by passing motorists and responding personnel. Turn on your emergency flashers. Secure a brightly colored piece of clothing or cloth to the radio antenna, or window or pop the hood and tie it off. If you have flares, warning triangles or similar safety products you can use those, if you don't have a fuel leak or smell fuel. Best practice is to place these items at intervals of 10 and 100 and 300 feet. Always watch for oncoming traffic.
Techno-Tip: EMERGI-SAFE 2020's are battery operated replacement for road flares. They are safer, longer lasting, and have an integrated flashlight, work-light (Lantern) and signalling light.
4. Call for help.
After you are in a safer location. You should call for help. If you have been involved in an accident, call 9-1-1 immediately. Be prepared to give your location information (see No. 1) and any other important information like if there are injuries and the number of people or vehicles involved.
If it is not an accident, but your vehicle is disabled and is safely out of the roadway, you can call for roadside assistance. Contact a third party provider (AAA), insurance company or state highway response number (In New Jersey on I-95 dial #95). and be prepared to give your location and vehicle information.
5. Stay with your vehicle.
If you are safely out of traffic, the safest place to be is in your vehicle with seat belts fastened. Your vehicle was designed to absorb impact and protect occupants, if you are struck outside of your vehicle, you may not fare so well. Make sure you keep your windows mostly closed and and the doors locked. If a stranger offers help, ask them to call roadside assistance. If you do need to leave your vehicle consider the following:
a. Leave a note explaining who you are, how to contact you, where you are going, when you will be back and what you are going to do (return with gas, a tow truck, a mechanic).
b. Make sure you check for oncoming traffic and exit the vehicle through the passenger side if possible.
c. Carry a flashlight at night and make sure you are visible with bright colors if you need to walk for help (this should always be a last resort).
We hope you learned something from these tips and if you have any questions or safety tips you think we missed, feel free to give us. Thanks for reading and look out for new posts soon!