• Most police officers would tell you not to stop if you see someone who needs help on the highway. 

    These same police officers have probably seen horrible things that have happened as the result of such altruistic behavior. When you pull your car on the shoulder of a busy highway, not only are you putting yourself at risk of being struck by another vehicle, but you could also become harmed by the stranded person as well. After all, when you pull over, you don’t know what type of person you will encounter.

    Even though we know that terrible things can happen when attempting to help others, many people still offer assistance. You may have benefited from the help of a good Samaritan yourself. 

    So what do you do when you see someone who needs help on the highway? You could follow the advice of officers who would tell you to report the situation to them, or you could stop and offer assistance yourself. 

    Here are some things to think about if you see someone who needs assistance on the side of the road.

    1. Follow your gut instincts.

    People who find themselves in bad situations are sometimes not surprised to find themselves there. They often report that they “knew” something didn’t seem right, but they put themselves within harm’s way regardless. 

    Follow your gut instincts in deciding whether to stop to assist or not. If you feel that the situation seems out of the ordinary or it doesn’t feel “right,” wait until you are at a safe stopping point and call 911 or the non-emergency number for the police. After all, police offers and emergency responders receive specialized training on how to handle these unordinary situations.

    2. If you decide to stop, be aware of your safety.

    At other times, you may see someone who obviously needs assistance standing by the side of the highway. You may feel obligated to help, especially if the person seems young, old, or infirm. 

    Instead of slamming on the brakes, first, make sure a car is not following closely behind you. Decelerate slowly and turn on your hazard lights. Pull as far off the road as possible. Exit the vehicle through the passenger door if your driver door is the closest to the road. Make sure you bring your phone with you when you exit your car. 

    Once you have exited the vehicle, pay close attention to the traffic. Drivers may be paying attention to the accident that caused the motorist to be stranded and will not notice your car pulled over to help. 

    3. Offer assistance.

    Once you have exited the vehicle, approach the driver with caution. You may call out to the driver from a distance before you get too close. 

    If the stranded person seems distraught, talk in soothing tones, and ask what you can do to help. If the stranded person or another party seems injured or uncommunicative, call 911 with or without their permission. 

    Again, you will need to follow your gut on how much medical assistance you are comfortable giving to someone hurt or injured. The most important thing is to make sure the stranded party is paying attention to their surroundings. They may be so upset or wounded that they are unaware of surrounding hazards.

    4. Call a tow service.

    If no one seems harmed, offer to call a tow truck for the stranded motorist. Maryland tow services like All MD Recovery and Towing is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Perhaps the stranded party knows what’s wrong with the car. Maybe the motorist is just out of gas or has a flat tire. Maybe they were unable to start the car and just need a jump. All MD Recovery and Towing offers additional services besides towing. Their drivers are also skilled mechanics. They can assist with changing a flat or can even bring a can of gas.

    The benefit of having a professional assist with this type of easy-to-fix car malfunction is that they have safety equipment. Large tow-trucks with flashing lights are easier for other motorists to see. Other drivers will not be able to see you crouching by a car on the side of the road, trying to help someone change a flat.

    We all have needed assistance on the side of the road, and most of us have received the help of another traveler. Just make sure not to put yourself at risk when helping another. 

    This article was originally posted at All Maryland Recovery & Towing.