What to do if your car breaks down on a major highway

Traffic on IH-35 near downtown Austin. (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)
Traffic on IH-35 near downtown Austin. (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The chance of your car breaking down on a major highway is a scary thought, but police say you need to be prepared for that possibility.

If you’re driving and your vehicle breaks down, police say you should get over to the right-hand shoulder of the road as soon as possible. If your car dies in the middle of the highway, officers recommend you do not attempt to get out of the car. They say you should turn on hazards and wait until patrol units arrive on scene. It can be unsettling sitting in your car waiting, but it’s better than trying to run cross a highway.

Lt. Robert Richman with the Austin Police Department Highway Enforcement Motorist Division says it’s best to move your car off the roadway, especially if it is a minor fender bender.

“You do have to move over to the far right as you can. Stay close and accessible especially for the other driver, but you need by law to move it over and off the roadway if it’s movable.”

Save these numbers in your phone:
HERO: 512-974-HERO
DPS: 800-525-5555

If you ever do break down on the roadway you can call HERO at 512-974-HERO who will assist with everything from changing tires, adding gasoline and performing minor vehicle repairs. The service is provided along the 55-mile section of I-35 from Kyle to Georgetown and the 12-mile stretch of U.S. 183 between I-35 and Lakeline Boulevard.

Another option, according to DPS, is a toll-free number printed on the back of all Texas driver licenses and ID cards, to get help to motorists whose vehicles are disabled on state and federal roads in Texas. The number, 800-525-5555, is for motorists to use when reporting a need for non-emergency assistance.

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