If you have a problem with your car when you’re driving on a highway, your first thought may be to pull over after getting off at the next exit. If the next exit is too far away, you may end up stopping on the side of the road, though.
The shoulder is there for emergencies like what you’re dealing with. You should pull your vehicle fully into the shoulder and off to the side of the road as far as possible, so you can put space between your vehicle and those traveling at speed in the main lanes.
Unfortunately, you will still need to watch out for dangerous drivers. Even if you are where you’re supposed to be, those who are distracted might run off the road and hit your vehicle. People distracted by looking at your vehicle might cause a distracted driving crash with other drivers, or you could get hit as a pedestrian because others aren’t paying attention when you’re outside of your vehicle.
What can you do to stay safer if you have to park in the shoulder?
If you need to park in the shoulder, one of the best things you can do is to turn on your hazard lights. These tend to draw attention, so others should notice them and move a lane to the left (when they can). Those who can’t move over after seeing your hazards should slow down at the very least.
When you put on hazard lights, others quickly know that something isn’t right, so they’re often more attentive. Still, there have been times when those who had their hazards on were hit.
If you have to be outside of your vehicle, consider putting out flares around the perimeter. Look carefully at your surroundings, and get back into your vehicle as soon as possible. When inside, always wear your seat belt in case you get hit.
Dangerous drivers could cause an accident, even if you aren’t technically on the road. It’s in your best interests to call for support if your vehicle breaks down and to stay inside while buckled in. You may also consider walking to a nearby store or shop to wait for a tow truck, but if you do, leave a note with when you’ll return.