BOZEMAN – Drivers are often told to be careful when taking to the roads in the winter months. But what if things go wrong?
The Montana Highway Patrol has a few tips if you find yourself stuck on the side of the road.
First, stay calm, remain where you are, and stay in your car. Being in the car is the safest place for somebody that’s stuck on the side of the road, according to MHP Trooper Derek Stoner.
It’s also extremely dangerous to stand out on the roadway near your vehicle.
“Even with emergency lights on, there can be secondary crashes at a current crash scene and the car will protect you should another car slide into it,” Stoner said.
“Wear your seatbelt while you’re in the car still; that way if you’re car does get hit and shoved farther off into the ditch, you’re not moving around inside of it as it’s doing that.”
Just in case you do have a problem on the side of the road, it’s important to keep some key items in the back of your car, just in case something were to happen.
People should keep a first-aid kit handy as well as blankets and extra clothing to keep warm. It’s also a good idea to have snacks and water just in case.
There are a few circumstances where getting out of your car may be safer.
“Obviously, if the car is on its side or upside down or something like that happens, it’s probably best to get out of the car,” Stoner said.
“Obviously, it’s never good to be in a car if it’s smoking. There’s a potential that it could start a fire; you don’t want to be in the car for that,” he continued.
Stoner added that if you do need to get out of your vehicle, it’s best to get as far from the roadway as possible.
“If you have to get out of the car if you can increase the distance between you and the roadway that’s going to be helpful as well,” he said.
The MHP also reminds us to move over and slow down when you see emergency or towing vehicles stopped on the shoulder.