If your vehicle breaks down on a highway, here’s why you should call police

Posted On Thursday February 25, 2021
If you find yourself in any vehicle break-down situation posing a danger, don’t hesitate to call police.
If you find yourself in any vehicle break-down situation posing a danger, don’t hesitate to call police.

When your car breaks down on a road, you likely get out, try to figure out what’s wrong and if you can’t fix it yourself, you call for roadside assistance for help. But major roads and highways have a large volume of traffic driving at high rates of speed. If your vehicle becomes disabled and you can’t get off the roadway, your safety and that of other road users is at risk.

On January 28 at 3:30 pm, a motorist had a tire blow out on his newer-model Honda Civic while driving on the eastbound Highway 174 between Blair and Montreal Roads. He was stopped in the bus lane, in an area further hampered by ongoing construction.  

He called police and he and his passenger remained in the vehicle.

“In this case with the amount of traffic and the speed of the vehicles, this was a potentially dangerous situation.  Other drivers aren’t expecting a lane to be blocked and there was limited visibility as well as distraction from ongoing construction,” said Cst. Stacey Randell, who joined the Ottawa Police Service in 2018. “He did the right thing by calling police.”

Cst. Randell parked behind the vehicle, putting on her lights to signal other drivers to slow down and move left. The tire couldn’t be changed on the side of the road, so she arranged for a tow. Cst. Randell’s police vehicle provided a layer of safety as the tow operator worked.

As tow trucks can’t take passengers, the two men were without a vehicle and a ride.

“He told me he was going to call an Uber,” said Cst. Randell, “but obviously having another vehicle stopped on the road was equally dangerous, so I put them in my vehicle and gave them a ride.”

The men told Cst. Randell to drop them off at a bus stop or a restaurant so they wouldn’t trouble her any further.

“Restaurants aren’t open to wait inside per covid restrictions, and they weren’t dressed to be out in the cold for an extended period of time,” said Cst. Randell. “They lived close by the police station on St. Joseph, which was where I was headed, and I wanted to see them home safely.”

The man told her, ‘you never know when you’ll need a police officer, but it’s nice to know you’re here to help.’

If you find yourself in any vehicle break-down situation posing a danger, don’t hesitate to call police. “At the very least, you can speak to one of our Police Communicators, who can assess the situation,” advised Cst. Randell.

Here are some safety tips from Cst. Randell in case you break down:

  • Keep your vehicle properly maintained
  • Have your phone charged
  • Let someone know where you are going and how long you will be
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle
  • Consider having a roadside assistance membership
  • Watch for traffic, overhead wires or other dangers before getting out of your vehicle
  • Keep warm clothing in your vehicle in cold months