Even the most prepared drivers find themselves stuck on the side of the road at least once. Brand new and well-maintained old automobiles stop working for a variety of reasons, including part defects, tire punctures, blown fuses and dead batteries. Whether it’s daytime or nighttime, you should never think that you are 100 percent safe while waiting for a tow truck. Another car can collide with you, your passengers or your vehicle at any time. You can also experience any one of many different kinds of attacks from human and animal predators.
Follow these tips to help you stay safe while waiting:
Ignore Repair Temptations
You likely called for a tow truck because you don’t have the right tools to make repairs or enough mechanical experience beyond replacing fluids or pumping tires. Ignore the impulse to tinker with your vehicle while you wait even if you want to see if you can better understand the mechanical problem. You might cause yourself serious injury or trap yourself under your vehicle.
Broadcast Your Position
Contact someone in your social circle to let them know where you broke down. Agree to call them back every half hour and give them the name and number of the tow truck service to make absolutely certain that at least one person who cares about you has some idea where to check if you don’t follow-up by the agreed upon time. Turn on your flashers, if possible, and set up roadside flares or snap glow sticks to make it easier for the tow truck driver to find you and to warn other drivers to use caution when driving past your vehicle.
Wait Safely Inside
Unless you locked yourself out of your vehicle or the cabin contains fumes or smoke, always wait inside with the doors locked to protect yourself and/or any passengers from attacks. If you can’t stay inside, maintain constant awareness of your environment by regularly looking around you and noting the positions of other vehicles and people and the elements. Situational awareness can warn you of the potential for an attack, accident or bad weather.
Demand Official Identification
Plenty of criminals pretend to be tow truck drivers, locksmiths and police officers. They lie in wait and then show up in an official-looking uniform or vehicle. Sometimes a flat tire or engine problem happens because one or more criminals targeted a driver days before, studied the driver’s movements and modified the driver’s vehicle just enough for it to break down at a certain point along a normal travel route. Never get out of your car when someone approaches it. Crack the window and ask the person to prove his or her identity. For example, ask the towing service for the driver’s employee ID and then ask the driver to confirm it or ask an officer for his official number and then call 911.
Bonus tips: Keep pepper spray and any weapon-like object, such as a screwdriver or jack handle, at hand in case you’re faced with an attacker. Always remember to ask your towing service for additional tips when you call them.