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What to Do in a Roadside Emergency

Colburn Law

What to Do in a Roadside Emergency

Roadside emergencies can happen to any driver. From flat tires and overheated engines to serious collisions with other motorists, these incidents can place you in danger of another collision and strand you without assistance on Washington roads. During these situations, it is important to take careful steps to stay safe and seek the help you need.

#1: Take Immediate Action

As soon as you realize you are experiencing a roadside emergency, you should pull over in a safe location as soon as possible. Waiting too long to get off the road can place you at risk of additional injuries. If you are experiencing a mechanical failure, your car can suddenly stop moving while you are on the road, placing you at further risk for harm.

#2: Pull Over in a Safe Location

When you do pull over, ensure that you do not place your vehicle in a dangerous location. Try to move your vehicle as far off the road and out of harm’s way as possible. Do not stop around corners or curves, on a narrow road, or the bottom of a hill. If you have to stop on the shoulder of a freeway, exit your vehicle on the passenger side, or the opposite side of where vehicles are traveling.

While waiting for help, always remember that you are near or in traffic, especially if you are on a freeway shoulder. Keep your distance from oncoming traffic. If it is safe to do so, remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened and your doors locked.

#3: Make Your Vehicle Visible

To avoid further collisions with other vehicles, it is important to make sure that other drivers are aware of your situation. As soon as you realize you are experiencing a roadside emergency, turn your hazard lights on. Once you stop in a safe location, place other signals, such as flares or warning lights, as far behind your vehicle as possible to provide notice to approaching vehicles.

#4: Seek Help

Once you place your vehicle in a safe location, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Insurance companies often offer roadside assistance to policyholders experiencing car trouble; if you have access to this service, contact the appropriate provider as soon as possible.

If you are in an accident with another vehicle, call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement. Washington law requires motorists to report any accident involving death, injury, or property damage of $700 or more. You should contact the police after any accident, even if you do not feel injured—if the other driver is responsible for your accident, you may want to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her for your damages.

Accident victims should also seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should always go to the emergency room after an accident, even if you feel unhurt—you may have underlying injuries you are unaware of, and seeking treatment can help you avoid complications or a worsening condition.

#5: Contact an Attorney After an Accident

Experiencing any roadside emergency can be terrifying, but if you are in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to take immediate action. If another driver is at fault for the accident, you may be eligible to claim compensation from him or her.

A Bellevue car accident attorney can help. Your lawyer can investigate the incident and advise you on your next steps, collecting evidence and advocating for your best interests throughout your case. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

Additional Car Accident Resources and Information