What to do if your vehicle becomes disabled
If your vehicle becomes disabled on a state freeway or highway, you need to know what to do. It is equally important to plan ahead.
What To Do . . .
- If your vehicle breaks down in the middle of traffic and you aren’t able to get to the side of the road, call 911 and remain in your vehicle until assistance arrives so you and your vehicle can be moved safely off the road.
- If you are able to make it to the shoulder or off-ramp, make sure to move it as far to the right as possible.
- Make sure to put your emergency flashers on so people are able to see your vehicle.
Location of Vehicle:
- If you arrange for a tow truck, wait in the vehicle until it arrives. This will ensure yours and your passenger’s safety while you wait.
- If you have to exit the vehicle, make sure you don’t turn your back to traffic and always be aware of your surroundings.
- If you decide to leave the vehicle, make sure you notify the WSP (for state freeways and highways) or local law enforcement by leaving a note on the dashboard, explaining what happened and your contact information. This will allow officers to contact you in case the vehicle needs to be removed immediately.
- There are some locations that are immediate tow zones. Vehicles left in these areas will be towed if no contact is made by the driver of what their plan is for the vehicle. You can contact a dispatcher by dialing 911 from your cell phone for guidance.
- If you return and your vehicle is no longer there, contact the appropriate WSP district office in the county where your vehicle was towed (for state freeways and highways) or local law enforcement (city or county) with jurisdiction in that area.
Decide Your Next Step:
For information on minor collisions, please see our "What to do if you are involved in a minor collision" page.