As one of many tow trucks responding to the 900+ accidents in Minnesota this past weekend, I saw many people putting their lives in danger unnecessarily. .For example, one woman spun out on 494 and ended up in the middle lane. She got out of her car and put her hood up. Then she stood outside, in front of her car, in the middle lane of 494 while waiting for a tow truck. Cars were going by on either side of her.
If her car spun out it stands to reason that other cars could spin out in that same area -- and pin this woman between her car and another. Thankfully that isn't what happened. But it is because I saw this woman standing in the middle of 494 that I felt compelled to share these tips on WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU WAIT FOR THE TOW TRUCK if you break down on a highway.
If your car is drive-able, move over to the shoulder. Whether you move over to the shoulder or are stopped in an active lane of traffic, turn on your hazard lights (aka "flashers") to warn other drivers that you are there. If it is dark, it's also advisable to turn on your headlights and the interior lights to be even more visible to others.
Stay in your car and keep your seatbelt as a safety precaution in the event another car crashes into you.
During the winter, keep the doors and windows closed to retain the heat in your car as best as possible.
"If you must exit your car, only do so when traffic is clear and wait well away from the highway, ahead of your car and behind guardrails, if they’re present," says the Canadian Automobile Association.
The only time we would suggest you get out of your car on the highway is if it is on fire. And we agree with the CAA; climb over the guardrail, so that you have the protection of the guardrail if another car slides out and skids toward you.
More snow is forecast for this coming Friday. If you find yourself in an accident or broken down on a highway, keep these tips front of mind. Nothing is more important than your safety.