Running out of gas can be extremely scary, especially on the highway. Once you realize what’s happening, you don’t have much time before your car will stop driving completely. If this happens to you, make sure to stay calm, don’t panic, and follow these steps.
1. Put Your Hazards On
As soon as you realize you have run out of gas, put on your emergency hazard lights and start getting into the right most lane. This will alert other drivers around you that something is wrong and they should give you some space. Once you pull your car over onto the shoulder of the highway, put it in park and keep your hazards on.
2. If You Can’t Pull Over, Call 911.
If you run out of gas before you make it to the highway shoulder, don’t hesitate to call 911. Your car being stuck on the highway is a huge danger to yourself and other drivers around you, and emergency services can help.
To try and save enough fuel to pull over, you should reduce your speed, turn off the air conditioning and radio, and unplug anything charging.
3. Do Not Exit Your Vehicle.
This is extremely important. Never cross the highway as a pedestrian. There is too great of a risk of being hit by a car, causing a car accident, or being attacked if in a remote area.
You may think that it seems safe enough to walk along the highway or run across, but don’t try it. Not only could other drivers be too distracted to see you in time, but even if they see you crossing, they may not be able to stop fast enough.
4. Get Gas, a Tow, or a Ride.
Option 1: Get gas
The ideal solution is to find a way to get gas to your car, fill it up, and keep driving. The longer you leave your car abandoned on the side of the highway, the greater risk there is of it getting damaged.
To get gas, you’ll either need to get yourself to a gas station and then back to your car, or have a friend bring you some. If you want to get to a gas station yourself, call a friend or a rideshare service for a ride there and back. If a friend can bring you a can of gas, even better.
Option 2: Get a Tow
If you can’t find a ride or are too far from gas stations, you may have to tow your car. Call AAA or another roadside assistance company – most auto insurance policies include some form of assistance. If you don’t think you have access to this type of help, call a tow truck company, your insurance company, or even the police. Whoever ends up towing your car can also give you a ride somewhere.
Option 3: Get a Ride
If for whatever reason you are unable to contact a tow truck company, but you can contact a friend or family member for a ride, do that. You should get yourself to safety as soon as possible, and can get your car towed at a later time.
In an ideal world, you should be prepared so that this dangerous situation doesn’t happen to you. If you are driving in a remote area and are not sure where the next gas station is, you should fill up at the soonest opportunity. Always have a car phone charger so that you’ll be able to call for help if it does happen. Also, try and be aware of how many miles your car has left when your gas light comes on. That way you can plan out your gas station stops accordingly and never run out.
It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car that includes things like a flashlight, tire inflator, jumper cables, first aid supplies, fire extinguisher, and warm clothes or a blanket. The more you prepare, the safer you’ll be.