What To Do (And What Not To Do) When You're Trapped On The Highway

Everyone knows you should prepare for bad weather with supplies in your car and an eagle eye on the weather reports. But what should you do if you get caught in your car unexpectedly? Here are ten do's and don'ts to keep you calm and safe.

10.) Do Let People Know Where You Are

If you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere, let people know where you are. This may be your family, your work, or your local law enforcement. All three might not be a bad idea.

Suggested By: autojim, Photo Credit: AP

9.) Do Turn Off Your Engine When Stopped


If you're going to be stuck not movie for hours on end, save gas and only turn on the car for the heater when necessary.

Suggested By: KDS, Photo Credit: AP

8.) Do Check Your Tailpipe


If you're in snow and ice and you're running your engine, check that your tailpipe hasn't gotten blocked. If it is, clear the snow and ice out. Otherwise, carbon monoxide can leak back into the car and kill you. It's a very simple check with very grave consequences.

Suggested By: ninjagin, Photo Credit: Oregon DOT

7.) Do Leave Room To Turn Around


Don't tailgate on a snow-bound highway. Your highway may be completely impassable, and if you're boxed in, you won't be able to get off.

Suggested By: shift24, Photo Credit: AP

6.) Do Take Local Roads When Necessary


Going along with that last piece of advice, the highway may not be the best way for you to get places in really awful weather. Minor roads can be dangerous, but they might be better than a highway.

Plan your route ahead, and especially think of things to avoid (like a big hill between you and your house).

Suggested By: MaWeiTao, Photo Credit: AP

5.) Do Know When To Get Out Of Your Car


If there's just a bit of fishtailing ahead of you, it's not a good time to abandon your vehicle and block the road behind you. And if you're stranded off to the side of a fast-moving, slippery road, standing outside your car can be more dangerous than waiting inside.

But there's a right time to get out. If you get stuck in the snow, get out and check your surroundings. There might be a fast food place or a bus road just out of your line of sight, as this almost tragic story explains.


Suggested By: Alex Murel and themanwithsauce, Photo Credit: AP

4.) Do Make Friends


Maybe you were caught off guard by weather that moved in sooner than expected, maybe you made the mistake of not packing food, water, and blankets ahead of time. When you're stuck on the road, make friends with the other drivers near you. You can all pool your resources.

As this story tells, you might think your microwave popcorn is inedible, but the 18-wheeler three cars ahead might have a microwave onboard.


Suggested By: klurejr, Photo Credit: AP

3.) Don't Count On A Speedy Rescue


If it looks like you're in for the long haul, don't panic. Autojim explains this the best.

If it happened to you, it's probably happened to dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of others, and you're in the queue. Just being stuck does not take priority over medical emergencies, fires, etc. Be patient, and be courteous to those who do stop by to help.

Suggested By: autojim, Photo Credit: AP

2.) Don't Keep Calling Law Enforcement And Emergency Services


Call when you need help and if you get help, call again to say that you don't need more assistance. Don't call again and again, overloading the phone lines of the police, towing services, or whoever else.

Suggested By: autojim, Photo Credit: AP

1.) Don't Take The Shoulder


Whatever you do, don't try and rush past stopped traffic by taking the shoulder. Leave it open for emergency services. You're doing yourself a favor.

Suggested By: willkinton247, Photo Credit: AP

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