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CAA Roadside Safety Tips: How To Stay Safe When Your Car Breaks Down

CAA Roadside Safety Tips

We interviewed Julia Kent, Julia Kent, Director of Public & Government Affairs, CAA Atlantic Director of Public & Government Affairs, CAA Atlantic on roadside safety. Here are some roadside safety tips, if your vehicle is broken down near the highway or you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and are waiting for assistance on the recovery of your vehicle.

What are the safety steps of retrieving a vehicle on the side of the highway?

All of CAA Atlantic’s roadside assistance technicians are trained in what we call “safety at the scene”:

  • An operator should monitor any activity around their tow truck as they approach a disabled vehicle. Arrive with appropriate flashing lights on.
  • Whenever possible, position service vehicle in a way that offers the most protection from oncoming traffic.
  • Exit tow truck on passenger side when possible and ensure any steps and handrails are used.
  • Operator should be wearing approved PPE.
  • Approach the disabled vehicle on the non-traffic side and ensure that the vehicles driver and passengers remain in the vehicle until an assessment of the situation can be completed.
  • When necessary relocate the disabled vehicle off to the side of the road away from traffic.
  • Stop, Look and Listen. Constantly check your surroundings. Never turn your back on the traffic and remain alert to sudden changes in traffic noise.

While on call, how can a passing motorist help in keeping the Tow Truck driver & Customer safe?

In all four Atlantic provinces (and all 10 provinces across Canada), tow trucks are included in the Slow Down Move Over law that applies to fire, police and ambulance. Tow trucks drivers are often emergency first responders, so this legislation is essential for keeping all who work on the side of the road safe. The specifics of the laws vary from province to province, but the commonality is simple – when you see a tow truck or any other emergency vehicle on the side of the road with lights flashing, slow down to half the posted speed limit and, when possible and safe, move over.

What should a person do or not do on the side of the highway who are waiting for roadside assistance?

If you’re on the side of the highway requiring roadside assistance, remember to stay in your vehicle until help arrives. Turn on your 4-way hazard lights. Place your roadside assistance call from inside your vehicle and wait for help to arrive. Your roadside technician will assess the situation upon arrival and give you directions from there.

What sort of things should we have in our vehicle as an emergency Safety kit?

We always recommend a safety kit in the trunk of your vehicle (especially during winter and long journeys):

  • First Aid kit
  • Water/emergency food (like a granola bar)
  • Blanket
  • Shovel
  • Sand or kitty litter
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Flashlight
  • Cell phone charger

Thank you for creating awareness and for this interview on road safety.

Also here is a gentle reminder to watch for roadside workers that are out, to maintain our highways and are working on road projects. Please watch out for their safety and yours by respecting work zones slowing down and obeying traffic control people and signage.