Official Drivers Ed Direct Website

Ask an Expert - Driving School Questions - V1

Teen stranded in a rural area


So just what should you do if your car breaks down on a rural canyon road... especially someplace where there is no cell phone reception to call for help? A concerned parent posed this great question to us and we turned to our resident DMV licensed defensive driving expert for the answer. Along with input from a California Highway Patrol officer, this is what we had to say:


The best or least risky option would be to remain in the car with the emergency hazards on and the doors locked until someone offers to help. If possible, locate a shoulder and pull as far to the right as possible to increase the size of the safety cushion between your parked car and moving traffic. Additionally, try to park your car in an area where there is increased visibility and lighting if possible. In other words, don't park your car around a blind curve but rather on a straight away where the vehicle can be easily identified by passing motorists, if possible. Make sure that you put on your emergency hazards and raise the hood of your vehicle, so that other vehicles are aware of the emergency. Eventually, a motorist will offer to help and you can ask them to call 911 if and when they get cell phone reception, but only roll down the window enough to talk to any would-be rescuer and make sure your doors are locked. It's never a good idea to walk on the side of a dark road or attempt to drive off with a stranger.

The ultimate solution would be to install a system such as OnStar. Satellites are the way of the future and can provide much needed assistance in situations such as this as well as many others.

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