By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two people were killed Monday afternoon on Route 309 in Montgomery County when they were struck by another motorist as they tried to push their disabled vehicle to safety. The driver of the car that hit them was taken to an area hospital.
(UPDATE: Officials later said the two people killed had not been pushing their disabled car. See related story.)
The tragedy poses an interesting question for even the most experienced of motorists: what to do when your car breaks down on a busy roadway?
The most important thing to do after calling for help is assess your surroundings. If things seem safe, AAA MidAtlantic spokeswoman Jenny Robinson says try to get yourself out of harm’s way.
“Switch on your emergency flashers, and then, if you can, exit the car and wait on the side of the road.”
And if you can’t get out safely, Robinson says try popping the hood of your car, or even the trunk, “because that way people coming from behind will be able to see it. Also, if you have a brightly-colored scarf or handkerchief you can tie that to the door handle or antenna. Again, don’t be standing outside the car when you do it, but if you can just reach out the window.”
All State spokesman Chris Conner says, while you wait for help, “If you feel safe, motion the other drivers to go around your vehicle by sticking your hand out the window to let them know that your vehicle is stopped, and you’re still in there.”
Conner says make sure you’re buckled up as well if your seat belt wasn’t on already, in case your vehicle is struck from behind.
A brochure full of road safety tips can be found on AAA MidAtlantic’s website.