Driving on a busy interstate can be intimidating as it is without having to worry about the potential of getting stranded. No matter the reason—whether it’s due to a flat tire, collision, storm, or traffic backup—if you find yourself stranded on I-465, there are some key precautions you need to know in order to keep yourself and others safe. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on what to do if you’re ever in a situation where your car is stranded on the interstate.
1. SIGNAL and PULL OVER IN THE SAFEST AREA POSSIBLE
If you’re driving on the interstate and need to deal with a flat tire or other malfunction, you’ll need to use your best judgment to find the safest area possible. While the quality of your location may be outside of your control in certain situations, be sure to choose an area that is big enough for your vehicle. You won’t want your car to be sticking out into the road, as this can spell major trouble on a busy interstate.
In the instance that you are in a construction zone surrounded by highway barrier walls and need to pull over, try to do everything in your power to make it out of the construction zone before pulling over. If the shoulder is closed and only the lanes are available, turn your hazard lights on until you can safely locate the side or shoulder of the road to pull over.
2. REMEMBER TO TURN ON YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS
If you haven’t already, once you safely pull over on the side of the road, turn on your vehicle’s blinking hazard lights. No matter if it’s daytime or nighttime, your car’s hazard lights will signal to incoming traffic that you’re unable to move your vehicle or in need of assistance.
Hazard lights are particularly important if you become stranded at night or during a heavy storm, as they will give other motorists a heads-up that there is a car stranded on the shoulder. If you’re in a situation where you can’t find your hazard lights, or they simply aren’t working, you can always turn on your car’s interior lights to signal your presence.
3. DODGE STANDING WATER, MUD, OR ICE
As any Hoosier knows, Indiana weather can be highly unpredictable. Unannounced heavy rain and snow aren’t the most ideal driving conditions, especially while on a busy interstate. If inclement weather has gotten too out of control and pulling over is a must to ensure your safety, don’t hesitate! Just be sure you rest your car in a safe area that isn’t overrun by piles of snow, large puddles of water, or thick mud. When possible, it’s best to park your vehicle on higher ground to avoid areas with heavy water or ice. Parking on higher ground will also make it easier to locate if your vehicle needs a tow, plus you won’t have to worry about it potentially getting stuck in heavy mud or standing water.
4. NOTE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Once you’ve pulled over in a safe area, take detailed notes of your surroundings. It’s important to stay aware of what’s going on around you to ensure you stay as safe as possible while waiting to get help. If you can, take note of any nearby exits, main roads, mile markers, or landmarks that could assist roadside assistance in finding your location.
5. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
If you find yourself stranded out on I-465 due to an engine problem it’s in your best interest to remain inside your vehicle after assessing the situation. If you’re not able to fix the issue, then staying in your car will keep you safe from the traffic rushing by.
If you’re in a situation where you must get out of your car, such as an active fire, never stand beside or behind the vehicle. Take note of any sounds or smells you may have noticed before needing to pull over that may give roadside assistance more clarity into how they can help keep you safe.
6. CALL FOR ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE IMMEDIATELY
While it may be your first reaction to call Mom or Dad, it’s best to call trained professionals who can be dispatched to your location as soon as possible. If you’re in a situation where your vehicle is going to need some assistance getting back on the road, roadside assistance will come equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to deliver unrivaled support.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) offers the Hoosier Helpers program that assists stranded motorists on Indiana interstates. Since the program began in 1991, Hoosier Helpers have come to the aid of more than 400,000 motorists, driven more than 20 million miles, and responded to more than 1.2 million incidents. Be sure to add their number to your contact list in case you need help while you’re on I-465: 855-INDOT4U (463-6848).
7. TRY YOUR BEST TO STAY CALM
After your vehicle is parked in a safe area and your flashers are on, take a minute to gather yourself and take some deep breaths. Remember: these instances are not uncommon, and there are professional teams ready to get you the prompt help you need.
Remaining calm will not only make your nervous system feel better, but it will also make communicating with roadside assistance feel less overwhelming. Try to clear your head with some deep breaths, so you can focus on communicating what happened and what type of assistance you indeed.
Getting stranded on the interstate is no fun no matter how prepared you are, but we hope this article can give you the knowledge you need to stay proactive in the event of a breakdown, heavy storm, or other vehicular crisis. Interested in learning more? Get started today with our open enrollment Online Course, or register for our Behind the Wheel lessons.