Roadside Emergency-First Steps
So you’re enjoying your trip when suddenly you experience a roadside emergency forcing you to pull onto the shoulder…a flat tire, engine overheating or anything that requires you to stop along the roadway. Turn on your EMERGENCY FLASHERS! If you’re towing a car turn on its Emergency Flashers too to increase your visibility!
Assess the situation. If you’re stopped on the traveled portion or shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, you should, as soon as possible and at least within ten (10) minutes, place warning devices in the following manner:
A. One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
B. One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic; and
C. One at 40 paces (approximately 60 meters or 200 feet) from the stopped motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic.
D. Call for roadside assistance.
Why are warning devices so important in a roadside emergency?
Why would you want to do this? To make your disabled rig as visible to approaching drivers as possible. Give them time to react and merge safely away from you and your vehicle. Watch some of the dash cam videos recorded by police and DOT of vehicles scrapping or slamming into a disabled vehicle along the road because they weren’t paying attention or weren’t in control of their vehicle.
If you don’t have a set of DOT Safety Triangles get a set. They’re not that expensive. You can find them at Walmart, an automotive supply store, truck stop or online. They may just save your life and a ticket. Even though you’re not driving a commercial vehicle, your RV is much larger than a typical passenger vehicle. Err on the side of safety and good sense…get the triangles, deploy them properly and be SAFE!
Find additional information as it applies to commercial vehicles on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website: