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According to the National Safety Council, take these measures if your car breaks down:

  • Carefully work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or the side of the road. If you are on an interstate, try to reach an exit. Signal your intentions to drivers behind you.
  • If the engine dies right on the highway and you can’t get off the road, don’t get out of the car! Sitting in a dead vehicle with traffic piling up behind you is unnerving, but attempting to cross a high-speed freeway on foot is suicide.
  • Put reflectorized triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers; use your emergency flashers. If it is dark, turn on the interior dome light.

  • Get Professional Help: Do not try to flag down other vehicles. Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators will know help is needed. Watch for a uniformed police officer or other emergency personnel. All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly. Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones.
  • Be careful Where You Stand: Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle. If the car is in the roadway, stand away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive. Also, don't change tires in traffic.

It is inadvisable to walk on an interstate, especially during inclement weather. However, if you can reach a source of help on foot, without jeopardizing your physical or personal safety, try the direct approach by walking. Keep as far from traffic as possible and walk on the right side of the roadway. Never attempt to cross a multi-lane, high-speed roadway.

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