What to Do While Waiting for a Tow Truck

Maybe it was a minor accident or a flat tire. Perhaps your battery died. Either way, you’re on the side of the road, and help is already on its way. While you wait, make the most of your time. These steps will prepare you for the service pro arriving, and they’ll help ensure your safety and the safety of your vehicle.

Get identification

Get the name of the tow truck driver being dispatched to you or the license plate number of the tow truck from the tow truck dispatcher. This will let you verify that the vehicle and driver who arrives to help is legitimate. Verify this information before exiting your vehicle.


Turn on your hazard lights

This will tell other drivers that your vehicle is disabled. It will also make it easier for other drivers to see your car, especially at night. The hazard lights button is usually located near the steering column or dashboard and has a red, triangular icon on it.


Move over

If you can safely drive your vehicle, move it as far away from moving traffic and as far onto the shoulder as possible. This will help keep you clear of oncoming traffic and make it easier for tow truck driver to position his or her truck next to yours, so that your vehicle can be easily towed.


Set up triangles or flares

Bonus points if you have these safety measures on board. Once it’s safe to do so, place these reflective triangles or flares behind your vehicle, one about ten feet from the car and another about 30 feet. These highly visible markers will give drivers more time make sure they steer clear of your vehicle.


Gather your belongings

Chances are, you’ll need more than what’s in your pockets. Aside from your wallet and your phone, don’t forget to collect any other the belongings you’ll want to take with you. Not only will this stop you from kicking yourself later when you realize you left your go-to sunglasses in the towed car, it will speed up the process once help arrives.


Stay — or go — where it’s safe

If you break down on a busy highway, and you feel it’s safer to stay in your vehicle, go with your instincts and stay inside with your seatbelt on. If you’ve pulled over to the right shoulder of the road and it’s safe to get out, exit your vehicle through the passenger door so that you’re further away from traffic. Don’t forget to be careful and look both ways while walking near the road, even if you’re technically off it.


Be on guard

Be cautious of other motorists approaching you while waiting for your tow truck. While some might be genuine good Samaritans, don’t let a stranger into your vehicle or accept a ride from anyone you don’t know, including tow trucks that don’t match the one dispatched to you.