It is an occurrence that happens every day: a person is driving down the roadway when the vehicle tire goes flat. Out of necessity, he or she pulls over to the side of the highway and change it. Unfortunately, this common occurrence can quickly turn tragic when other drivers on the roadway fail to exercise proper precautions.
When stopped on the side of a roadway to change a tire, take steps to ensure your own safety. Do not assume that other drivers will take extra precautions to avoid striking you. Car crashes often result from distracted drivers who are not paying attention, and you could be at risk of being injured for this very reason. Your best move is really to call a tow truck or roadside assistance. On less-congested roadways, such as local roads, you might be safer changing the tire on your own – but on interstates and other highways, where there is no room or place to pull off, you should not attempt to change your own tire.
What can you do to protect yourself if you get a flat?
- Grab the steering wheel firmly and ease off the gas. Do not slam on the brakes, as it can cause your car to spin. Grip the steering wheel tightly, and slowly make your way to the side of the road.
- Get as far off the roadway as you can. If there is a way to exit the roadway completely, you should. If you cannot exit the highway, pull as far over as you can go. If you can get as far away as two lanes of traffic, that is best.
- Notify other drivers of the emergency situation. Turn on your hazard lights, or use road flairs to give a more prominent warning, if possible. Try to make yourself as visible as possible to passing drivers.
- Pay attention to the traffic around you. Ask your passenger to help you by keeping a lookout, if you can. Otherwise, make sure to keep a constant eye open to the traffic. Never attempt to change a tire on the side of the car facing the traffic, or one that will leave you invisible to other drivers.
Drivers also have a responsibility to act in a reasonable manner
Drivers also have a duty of care when approaching and passing a car on the side of the road, whether someone is changing a tire or not. If you are driving and see a car pulled over, you should move into the center or left lane. If it is unsafe for you to do so, you should slow down while passing the disabled vehicle.
At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., we protect the rights of people who were injured in car crashes throughout Maryland. If you sustained an injury while changing your tire, or while pulled over to the side of the road, we may be able to help. Please call our Maryland auto accident lawyers at 410-730-7737, or fill out our contact form, to learn more.