JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In light of recent crashes in Jacksonville involving broken down vehicles, state troopers are offering advice on what drivers should do in similar situations.
They say if you break down on a busy roadway, get your car as far off the road as possible. How far away you can get will determine what you do next.
Billy Delahunt and his parents got stuck on the shoulder of Interstate 295.
"We were just riding down the road and the car started running hot, and we had to pull off," Delahunt said.
But sometimes pulling off is just not enough to stay safe.
Troopers said on Sunday night, an 88-year-old man died and a 76-year-old woman was seriously hurt after their car broke down on I-295 near Baymeadows Road and were hit by another car.
Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Dylan Bryan said drivers should not be afraid to call FHP. Simply call *FHP or *347 and a trooper will be there to protect you.
"For us, you know, that's part of our bread and butter," Bryan said. "We will take care of that as quickly as possible."
First priority, though, is to get the vehicle far away from traffic, even beyond the emergency lane if possible.
"In addition to that, we suggest illuminating your emergency equipment, like your hazards or any type of visual aid to alert motorists that are approaching you," Bryan said.
There are no set rules about whether you should you get out or stay in.
"If a crash occurs or your vehicle is disabled and it comes to stop in the lanes of traffic, then at that point, I suggest get out and get to safety," Bryan said.
He said keep your vehicle running, if possible. That way the safety equipment will work.
"If you're leaving the car, at least keep the hazards on," Bryan said. "That way law enforcement or other officers driving throughout the area can see that there is assistance in need, and you know, secure the vehicle properly."
And if you stay with the car, stay buckled up.
If you are stuck on a bridge or other especially dangerous place, Safe Tow will help. It's a free service that's provided by some local wrecker companies that will pick you and the vehicle up and take you out of harm's way off the bridge, overpass or viaduct.
Police or troopers are the ones who call Safe Tow for you.