One moment of lost control over a vehicle can result in a truly dire situation. Crashes, hazardous weather and numerous other factors can cause you to find your vehicle stuck in a roadside ditch.
Your own well-being is the top priority when you become stranded, especially if you are seriously injured. You must follow a few important tips if you get stuck in a ditch, especially if harsh winter weather is at play.
The first step after any incident that brings you off-road is to call 911 and calmly explain the situation, as well as alert first responders to any injuries. Follow any instructions given to you and take heart in knowing that even if you have to wait out a storm, help will find you.
Stay inside your vehicle
Unless specifically instructed otherwise, it is best to remain buckled inside your vehicle. This is especially important if you are amid cold or severe weather, but exiting your vehicle near highways and other busy roads can be dangerous at any time of year. Keep in mind that exerting yourself by shoveling snow or trying to push your vehicle free may only worsen the situation.
Follow good waiting practices
While waiting for a rescue crew to locate you, it is important to follow good practices that help you remain safe and findable. During cold temperatures, it may be necessary to periodically run your vehicle’s engine to remain warm so long as snow or debris is not blocking the exhaust pipe. It is also a good idea to turn on your interior dome lights so that emergency personnel can more easily locate you after dark.
It can be easy to allow your emotions to run wild if you get stuck in a ditch, especially if the incident is due to the negligence of another. Staying calm will allow you to take the appropriate steps.