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How to stay safe in the event of a breakdown, accident (IN)


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Winter increases the risk for slide-offs, vehicle trouble


As the owner of a tow truck company for 15 years, Sterling Hitchens sees it every winter: vehicles in ditches and countless other weather-related issues that require the help of a wrecker service.

For those who may find themselves in those situations this winter, Hitchens offered tips for staying safe while awaiting a wrecker, which often can take hours in the dead of winter when accidents are frequent.

“Let’s say this happens to you. First thing, don’t get all bent out of shape. Daytime, dark, bad neighborhood, anything like that, don’t panic,” Hitchens said.


Next, drivers need to figure out where they are as best as possible. If they have a smartphone, they can use a map app to better determine their location.

After that, the driver needs to call for help. He recommended drivers always have a phone number handy in case of emergency. If the driver is part of a car club in an insurance company, he said to keep the number of who to call in their wallet, glove box, or store it in their phone. If someone isn’t part of a car club, pick a wrecker service and keep that number handy. In the case that someone doesn’t have a number on hand, if they have a smartphone, they simply can search for a wrecker company and make the call.

If the incident is an emergency, though, Hitchens said always to call 911 first.

“Everybody has a big, colossal thing whenever they call 911. The next thing might not be so big and colossal, like getting a flat tire, but you’re still going to need help and need it quick. It’s a type of emergency; it’s not a red lights and sirens emergency,” he said.

A situation that would be considered a 911 emergency, he said, for instance, would be if someone’s tire blew, and they’re left stranded in the middle of the highway.

“That would be very serious. Don’t be scared. Don’t be ashamed. Call 911, and say, ‘Look, I’m at this intersection. I’ve got a flat. I think my car is disabled. I can’t move it. Send help,’” he said. “They’ll come get you out of danger.”

In the less emergent cases, Hitchens said it’s always good to have an emergency kit in the car that includes a blanket and others odds and ends that could come in handy should a driver find themselves waiting for a rescue. Hitchens said to always keep an eye on the gas level and keep enough in the vehicle in case of emergency. That way the driver can use the heat.


However, drivers need to ensure that their exhaust pipe isn’t blocked by anything, such as a snowdrift, which could draw poisonous carbon dioxide into the car.

“It would be good to learn where you tailpipe is on the car. Just get out, get your boot or whatever, and kick the snow away from the tailpipe, I’d say, at least two or three feet or so,” he said.

And if someone has to be in their car for a while, he said it’s a good idea to call a family member or friend and let them know what’s going on and the estimated time for the wrecker to arrive.

Since phones are very important in case of emergency, Hitchens said it’s also a good idea to have a car charger. With a charger, the driver will be able to charge their phone, if needed, to call for help and also still be able to reach family or friends while awaiting assistance if their phone battery gets low.

More than anything, Hitchens said to use common sense, remain calm, and know that accidents happen.

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I got to say winter times im on my toes more then any other. Especially in bad curves. Let's be proactive keep one eye out each moment to what is out behind us..

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