How to Handle Roadside Emergencies

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There are a multitude of potential roadside emergencies. A flat tire, engine failure, medical problem, or any number of other issues make driving extremely hazardous. If you’re worried about reacting appropriately in the event of a problem, here’s how to handle roadside emergencies well.

Remain Calm and Vigilant

No matter your emergency, remaining calm helps you stay safe. Breathing deeply and regularly helps you focus on the issue at hand, such as navigating with a flat tire. Focusing on your breath also can help during a panic attack or another debilitating medical flare up or complication. While calmness translates to safety, you also need to remember what you must do to avoid an accident. While an engine failure may worry you greatly about your own safety and even the cost of a repair, this stress distracts you from the act of being safe. As you remain on the road, monitor specific details on the road and engage in several small tasks to get to safety.

Pull Off the Road

Speaking of getting to safety, the safest spot on the road is the shoulder; if possible, leaving the road altogether for a safer paved area is the safest option. When something comes up with your car or health, turn on your hazard lights immediately, gradually lower your speed, and proceed onto the shoulder or into a turn off the road.

Call for Help

Next, to help you handle a roadside emergency, call for help. Some situations including a mild panic attack may require the words of a trusted person, while a life-threatening health issue necessitates calling 911. Meanwhile, if you’re unsure of how to handle an engine failure—perhaps you don’t even know what went wrong—call a knowledgeable professional to get their opinion. You may even need the police to help you assess the situation safely. In general, calling for help lets someone know what happened to you and gets you off the side of the road quicker.

Do What You Can

Of course, roadside emergencies vary in severity. Some you cannot address yourself, while others you can. Overall, seek to do what you can in any given situation. If all you can is breathe and safely remove yourself from your vehicle, focus on that important task. But, if you sustain a flat tire, for instance, you may be able to safely change your tire yourself and get back on the road. Regardless, don’t expect to completely fix whatever went wrong, but rather address it to the degree you can.

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