How to Push a Car Safely When It Breaks Down

How to Push a Car Safely When It Breaks Down

by / Monday, 05 July 2021 / Published in Tips

It’s a situation no driver ever wants to find themselves in: you’re driving along a road when all of a sudden, your car breaks down and you’re stuck in the middle of the road. It’s a scary situation and you might be unsure if you should stay in your car and call for help or try to push your car out of the way first. 

As for the question of whether it’s best to wait for help or try pushing the car yourself, the answer is that it depends. Sometimes, it’s just not a good or safe idea to try moving a car yourself. But if there isn’t a lot of other traffic and your car is blocking traffic, pushing it out of the way might be an option. Before you get started, here are some important things to consider. 

Don’t Go it Alone

If you’re the only person in your car when it breaks down and there’s nobody else who can help, do not try to push the car yourself. You need at least one other person with you so that someone can steer and control the brakes while the car is being pushed. 

Are You On the Level?

Even if someone else could help you push your car, there are times when pushing a car is just not a safe option. If you are trying to push a car on a level road, that’s one thing. But if you would be trying to push a car uphill, it’s best not to try. Trying to push a car uphill can easily end in tragedy if something goes wrong. Trying to push a car downhill can also be dangerous since it could be harder to control the car once gravity gets a hold of the car. 

Evaluate the Situation

If there is at least one other person who could help move the car and you’re on a level surface, it may still be unsafe to try pushing a car. If you’re stuck in heavy traffic, the weather is bad, or you would be moving it a long distance, it’s safest to stay in your car with the hazard lights on while you wait for help to arrive. If it’s best to wait in your car, make sure you do so with your seatbelt on just in case your car is hit by another driver before the tow truck arrives. 

If It’s Safe to Push the Car

If it seems safe to push your car, start by making sure the car is in neutral with the key in the ‘on’ position. Even if the engine doesn’t start, doing this helps disengage the steering wheel so that it can be steered while being pushed. Make sure the parking brake is released before pushing begins. 

Pushing a car involves a lot of clear communication between the person steering and the people doing the pushing. Make sure windows are open so that the person steering the car can clearly hear any directions given. 

For those pushing the car, it’s important to push from the legs, not from the arms, and focus pushing on areas that aren’t likely to be damaged. Be sure to keep a safe distance behind the rear wheels. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

It’s easy for cars to end up being hit by other drivers when they break down — even if you do everything possible to make yourself visible and move the car to safety. If you’re in a car accident and sustain injuries, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer for help. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer experienced in handling a wide range of motor vehicle accident cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Image: iStock / ArtmannWitte

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