Stranded on the Road – Now What?

Feb. 24, 2016 – With inclement weather and slippery road conditions more prevalent than ever, keeping your ministry’s passengers safe from extreme temperatures and fast traffic should be top of mind. As the temperatures drop, many transportation breakdowns and accidents are caused because vehicles have been poorly maintained and are deemed unsafe for travel. This includes items such as worn or improperly inflated tires, faulty brake systems or windshield wipers that do not work. With regular preventative maintenance and by frequently inspecting your vehicle, a wide variety of equipment problems can be identified and corrected before they become dangerous. To better help you prepare for such an event, consider the safety tips below.

Plan Ahead

Always inspect your vehicle before driving it. If something is wrong, have it checked before you take to the road.

  • Know your route and how to get there before you leave.
  • Tell others where you are going and when you plan to arrive.
  • Once you have arrived at your destination, communicate this back so all know you are safe.
  • Monitor weather forecasts and avoid driving in adverse weather conditions.

Emergency Equipment

All vehicles should be provided with the following necessary emergency equipment:

  • Accident reporting forms and insurance information
  • Maps/GPS
  • Cell phone with charger (emergency phone numbers programmed in cell phone and a written list of numbers such as road service, church, pastor, etc.)
  • Blankets, bottled water and duct tape
  • Fire extinguisher (dry chemical) and a First Aid kit
  • Flashlight and radio with fresh batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning reflectors/safety cones
  • Paper towels, toilet tissue, rags and towels

Break Downs

Accidents are inevitable, and there may come a time when your vehicle breaks down during inclement weather conditions. In such an instance, take the following safety precautions.

  • As soon as you notice a problem, alert other drivers around you by turning on your emergency flashers and slowing down.
  • Pull the vehicle off the roadway as far as possible and get out of moving traffic safely. A roadway without a shoulder is the most hazardous place to breakdown. If there is not a safe place to pull off, keep moving if possible. Do not stop because of a flat tire, it is usually best to keep driving until you find a safe area in which to pull over. Your tire rim is less important than your life and the lives of your passengers.
  • Call for emergency road side assistance. Make sure you know your location – mile marker, nearest exit, etc., as this will help emergency personnel get to you as quickly as possible.
  • It is important to mark your vehicle to let others know it is disabled. The universal marking of a stranded vehicle is to open the hood or place a brightly colored flag on the vehicle’s antenna. Use safety cones or warning reflectors to divert oncoming traffic away from your vehicle.
  • Stay in your vehicle if it is safe to do so. Make sure you lock all doors. If strangers approach, do not open doors and windows, and don’t accept rides; wait for emergency assistance to arrive.
  • If it is necessary to leave your vehicle, exit on the passenger side or whichever side is away from the moving traffic. Never try to cross a busy roadway. Do not try to fix your car on a busy road. It is extremely dangerous to work on your car in or near fast moving traffic, leave it to the professionals.

There are many different emergency circumstances that may require different reactions, so be sure to survey the area and use good judgment. For additional information, view the Vehicle Self-Inspection Checklist Directions and Vehicle Self-Inspection Checklist resources found on SafeChurch.com.

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© 2018 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.