• Use caution and common sense. Unexpected breakdowns do occur, so prepare in advance.  

• Do not risk your life or serious injury while trying to repair your vehicle or walking along a busy interstate or dark rural road. There is not one set of procedures to guarantee safety in the event of a roadside breakdown. There are multiple suggestions that, when combined with the specific circumstances and common sense, can increase safety. 

• Ensure your vehicle is in good working condition before traveling, especially before long trips.  

• Carry an emergency kit in your car. The kit should include:

o Reflective triangles and/or a flashing warning light
o Flashlight
o Jumper cables
o Temporary flat tire repair
o A blanket
o Water and snacksfor people and animals
o A reflective vest 

• When your vehicle is still operable, move as far onto the shoulder as possible.  The same is true if you are involved in a minor traffic crash and the vehicles can be moved. The further from the travel portion of the highway you can be, the safer you will be. 

• Draw attention to the vehicle, whether your disabled vehicle is on or off the roadway. Use flashing hazard lights if possible.  Set out reflective triangles and turn on the flashing warning light from your emergency kit. The goal is to have as many other drivers see you as quickly and from as far away as possible. 

• Call for assistance as soon as you can.  Call 911.  If you are on a Maryland interstate, you can reach the nearest State Police barrack by dialing #77 on your mobile phone. 

• When on the shoulder, you are still at risk.  Other drivers steer toward the direction they are looking. Always keep checking oncoming traffic, especially when setting up reflectors or attempting repairs.

• If your vehicle is far away from traffic lanes, it is probably best if you remain inside.  Activate your emergency warning lights.  Remember to keep your seatbelt on while in your vehicle, in case you are struck by another vehicle. 

• If your vehicle is in the travel lanes and cannot be moved, you will need to make a determination to stay in your vehicle or leave it.  Please note crossing even one lane of an interstate on foot can be extremely dangerous.
• Before leaving your vehicle, put on the reflective vest from your emergency kit and use a flashlight to draw attention to yourself.  Remember, it is often difficult to estimate the speed of approaching vehicles.  Do not attempt to cross traffic lanes unless you think you can safely make it across before oncoming vehicles pass your location. 

• If out of your vehicle, check what is on the other side of the guardrail or roadway shoulder.  You may have to jump there to avoid an oncoming car or wait there for assistance to arrive. 

• It is not advised to set off on foot for help, especially at night.  Whether on an interstate or rural road, pedestrians are at great risk in the daylight and even greater risk after dark.  If you insist on walking, put on a reflective vest and use your flashlight.  Always walk against traffic, watch oncoming vehicles, stay alert, and be ready to move if a vehicle heads your way. 

• Maryland state troopers routinely stop to check on disabled vehicles.  The State Highway Administration and MDTA have a network of personnel in emergency patrol vehicles. Their priority is assisting drivers whose vehicles are broken down.  They are in uniform and drive yellow, well-marked truck vans.  SHA’s patrol is sponsored by State Farm insurance, so you may recognize them by that logo and/or the SHA logo and “CHART” the name of the traffic management program. 

• Not everyone who stops to help you has good intentions.  If you have concerns and are in your vehicle, lock your doors and lower the window only enough to ask the person to show you his/her official police or government identification. 
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