December 11, 2014 12:00 pm

What to do when waiting for a tow truck

If you commute to work or school by car, there’s a good chance you’ll have to call a tow truck at some point or another. But do you know what to do while waiting for a tow?

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If you commute to work or school by car, there’s a good chance you’ll have to call a tow truck at some point or another. But do you know what to do while waiting for a tow?

In some cases (take Thursday morning in Southern Ontario for example), your wait could be a long one.

CAA South Central Ontario reported receiving more than 950 calls for service during Thursday morning’s commute, as drivers navigated slippery, snowy road conditions. On a given winter day, CAA receives upwards of 3,000 calls.

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According to CAA, thousands of motorists have car trouble every year, but only a fraction of them are know what to do in an emergency.

To stay safe, follow these guidelines.

Before you leave

Keep cellphones charged in case of a breakdown or car emergency. Make sure your car has an emergency kit, including a blanket, proper winter clothing, wind-up flashlight, small shovel, scaper and snowbrush, and antifreeze. You can view the full list of recommended items here.

Pull off the road

As best you can, avoid stopping in a dangerous spot on the road. Hills and blind curves are particularly bad places to stop and could put yourself and other drivers at risk.

If it’s safe, keep driving using your turning signals to alert other drivers that you’re pulling off. When the road is clear, pull completely over to the shoulder.

Once you have stopped, use your cellphone to call for help and turn on your hazard lights.

Check to make sure traffic is clear, and if it’s safe to do so, open the hood of your car – however, if your car is overheating, raise the trunk lid instead as hot coolant spray around the engine could cause serious burns.

On a highway

If your car breaks down on the highway, turn on your hazards to warn other drivers. Many experts recommend you stay in your car and keep your seatbelt on.

On Wednesday night, a man was killed on Highway 401 near Guelph Line after being struck by a vehicle. Ontario Provincial Police said the man got out of his car after a collision and was hit by a third vehicle.

If you must exit your car, only do so when traffic is clear and wait well away from the highway, ahead of your car and behind guardrails, if they’re present.

During the winter, keep the doors and windows of your car closed to retain the heat in the car.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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