It’s almost always unexpected and seems to happen at the most inopportune times: a motor vehicle breakdown. Circumstances such as poor road conditions, high speed limits, and bad weather may make the immediate situation dangerous. Typically, drivers first turn their attention to the cause of the problem and neglect the immediate necessity of successfully getting the vehicle off the road to a safe destination.
It is, therefore, no surprise distressed vehicles often cause motor vehicle accidents. The attorneys at Powell Law have seen this occur time and time again. However, drivers may improve their chances of surviving a motor vehicle breakdown relatively unscathed by utilizing a few simple, common-sense tips.
BEFORE THE FACT
*Vehicle maintenance and emergency preparation
One of Pennsylvania’s most famous sons once said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Straight to the point, vehicles that are properly maintained break down less than those that are not. Check tire pressure and fluid levels, especially oil, regularly.
Pennsylvania drivers should also equip an emergency kit containing items such as jumper cables, tools, flares, waterproof matches, heavy gloves, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, an umbrella, an ice scraper/snow brush, and blankets. Interestingly, if a vehicle is trapped in snow, cat litter may be used as a sand substitute. Always prepare for the weather at hand!
WHEN IT HAPPENS
*Be aware of location and conditions
Not everyone has GPS in their automobile or cell phone. During a journey, it is important for drivers to continually assess their exact location and current road conditions for a variety of reasons, including the situation when a vehicle breaks down. Knowing cross streets nearest to the vehicle, as well as landmarks like a convenience store are important for providing directions to emergency personnel. If on an interstate, knowing where the closest mile marker is located is very helpful. If construction is ongoing in the area, it may be a good idea to inform anyone coming to the rescue to drive with caution.
*Safely exit the road
It is usually best to exit onto the right shoulder of the road and bring the car to a stop on level ground. Depending upon the amount of traffic, it may be wise to pull away from the road as much as possible. If this is difficult to accomplish, then consider moving to the opposite or left shoulder, but then do so only with extreme caution.
*Assess the problem
Is it a flat tire? Is it a problem with the brakes? No acceleration? Understand what certain warning signs mean and learn how to act in the situation. A problem like a flat tire may necessitate moving the car off the road without accelerating.
*Alert others of the situation
Put on your emergency flashers. Notify loved ones and emergency personnel like AAA. Raise your hood and use flares and warning triangles if you have them. Also, be careful not to leave the engine running for extended periods of time as this may subject anyone in the vehicle to a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
*Stay with the vehicle
This is important! If you leave your vehicle and do not inform anyone of your destination, you will make it difficult for emergency personnel and family to locate you.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.