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4 steps to take if your car stalls on the highway

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Auto Accidents

California has some of the busiest freeways in the nation. Stalling out amid fast and busy traffic can be unnerving, but it’s crucial to keep your cool as soon as your engine seems like giving up. Your response in these moments is critical to ensure your safety and that of your fellow drivers.

Immediate steps for safety

A vehicle suddenly stopping on the highway can be dangerous. If you are in this situation, remain calm and consider taking these steps:

  1. Activate hazard lights: A malfunctioning engine can make it difficult to push the brake pedal and steer the wheel. As soon as you sense trouble, turn on your emergency hazard lights to alert other drivers and prompt them to steer clear.
  2. Move your vehicle to safety: If possible, steer your vehicle towards the side of the road, particularly the right shoulder, where you will have more room away from traffic.
  3. Remain inside your vehicle: If moving the car isn’t an option, it is better to stay put. Inside your car, you’re shielded in ways you wouldn’t be on foot, as drivers do not expect to see pedestrians on the highway.
  4. Call for assistance: Without delay, contact emergency services or roadside assistance. They’re equipped to manage such incidents and can provide the necessary support.

Who’s responsible if there’s an accident?

Unfortunately, stalled cars can increase the risk of accidents, particularly on highways. Even with precautions, other motorists may still collide with your vehicle.

If an accident occurs due to your stalled vehicle, figuring out who is responsible can be complex. In a situation involving a stopped car, there may be multiple parties to blame.

You may be liable for not adequately maintaining your car, while the other driver could also be seen as negligent. Fortunately, California abides by the pure comparative negligence rule, which allows you to recover damages even if you are partly at fault.

A personal injury attorney may provide valuable guidance in these situations. They can help explain your rights and assess your eligibility for compensation, offering guidance from the moment of the incident.