Safety on California’s roadways is the CHP’s primary focus. Should your vehicle become disabled on the side of the road, call 911 and wait patiently for assistance to arrive. Our goal is to see you get safely to your destination as soon as possible.
We know the experience can be a very scary one for some folks, and the CHP wants you to know we take the situation seriously. Here are a few things you can do to help us out:
▪ Know your location. Without knowing where you are, it is difficult to find you. Whether you are driving or a passenger, be aware of your surroundings.
▪ Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down. Having an emergency supply kit in every vehicle, which includes a fully charged cellphone, first aid kit, flashlight, flares, jumper cables, nonperishable food and drinking water, is one way for motorists to be better prepared and help keep themselves and their passengers safe until assistance arrives.
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Stranded motorists should always take extra precaution to make sure they are safe. If possible, pull over to the right shoulder where you are at less risk of being struck by traffic. If your vehicle is in the lane of traffic, make certain your vehicle is visible to other drivers by turning on your hazard lights or emergency flashers. Do not panic if your vehicle becomes disabled in the center median of a multilane freeway – remain in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, and call 911 for assistance.
If you exit your vehicle, do so on the side opposite from traffic and wait as far away from traffic as possible. If available, stand on a sidewalk, behind a guardrail, or up an embankment for further protection. Use your cellphone to arrange for roadside assistance.
If you break down on the freeway, you may be able to use the Freeway Service Patrol. The FSP program is a free service in many cities. This joint program provided by Caltrans, the CHP and the local transportation agency typically operates Monday through Friday during peak commute hours, and all day in predesignated freeway construction zones. In Fresno, the FSP works from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m.
FSP provides the following services: tire change, gas (one gallon), tow off the freeway to the nearest exit and jump start.
I know how scary breaking down on the freeway can be, and the important thing to remember is to get yourself to safety. About 20 years ago, I was in college and took a trip to Magic Mountain. It was a great day, but when I was getting onto the freeway, I drove over a bunch of loose nails.
Guess what happened next? Although it taught me a lesson in patience, I was left with a flat tire and a disabled car. I knew there was no way I could change the tire in the location I was in, so I slowly drove my car off the freeway and changed the tire. This experience taught me patience and keeping myself and my passengers safe.
Every breakdown is different, depending on where you are, what you’re doing, the time of day and the underlying problem. Always exercise caution and be mindful of traffic.