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Stay safer after a highway emergency

While Louisville has been spared the brunt of the winter storms that have battered the coastal regions from the Deep South to New England, the freezing temperatures can still create some driving hazards.

If you discover that the weather, poor planning or just rotten luck have left you stranded on a Kentucky road or highway, the following safety tips from Consumer Reports auto experts could be helpful.

  • Whenever possible, move your vehicle off of the road. If your engine begins to sputter or you sense you're losing power, pull the wheel off of the road as far as you are safely able to do so.
  • Turn your hazard lights on. Even off the road, you want your vehicle to be visible to oncoming traffic. If you have flares or orange cones, place them several yards behind your bumper to alert traffic.
  • Attach bright cloth to the antenna. This alerts drivers that you need help. No antenna? Tie the material onto a door handle, hang it from a rolled-up window or raise your hood.
  • It may be best to exit the disabled car in an urban, populated area. Leave a note with a mobile number for police or other roadside assistance to contact you before leaving to seek help.
  • In bad weather in rural areas, stay with the car. At the least, it provides shelter from the storm.
  • Trust your instincts. There are many good Samaritans who offer to help stranded motorists, but there are also some with ill intent. Don't jeopardize yourself by getting into a car with a stranger. It's better to ask them to send police to assist you, or simply call 911.

In some cases, your vehicle might be disabled after getting hit by another driver. You may be able to pursue financial compensation for the injuries you suffered as well as for the damage that your car or truck sustained because of the other driver's negligence.

Source: Consumer Reports, "What to Do in a Roadside Emergency," accessed Jan. 05, 2018

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