It’s not always wise to imitate The Little Engine That Could. Just because you “think you can,” doesn’t mean you will. Case in point: you won’t get far if you believe your car will run on an empty tank.
Do you know what to do when you hear the dreaded ding of the low fuel warning, and you’re unable to reach a gas station? Your mind wanders as you drive. You zone out, and then your car’s engine sputters. You glance at the fuel gauge and see the needle dipping below E. Here’s what you should do.
Step 1: Find a Safe Spot
Find a shoulder on the road and pull over. Turn on your hazard lights before you exit the vehicle. If you carry reflector lights, face them toward traffic and place them 10 to 15 feet behind the vehicle.
Step 2: Pinpoint Your Location
Use an app like Google Maps or Apple Maps to find your location and the nearest gas station. While you’re in the app, search for close exits in case you have to walk.
If your phone is dead, gather more information about your location by using:
- Highway markers
- Road maps
- Exit signs
- Billboards and businesses
- Geographic markers like lakes and rivers
Step 3: Make Some Calls
Shut down unnecessary applications that could drain your phone’s battery. Dim the brightness of your display and turn on power saving mode.
Call any of these resources for help:
- Pekin Insurance Roadside Rescue (1-888-735-4611)
- AAA roadside assistance or a similar service company
- 411 to find the nearest tow service
- Family or friends
Step 4: Walk This Way
If your phone dies, you might want to set out on foot. Walk against traffic so you’re able to see what’s coming toward you.
Step 5: Be Wary of “Good” Samaritans
Someone might stop and offer you a ride. The rules from childhood apply: don’t get in a car with a stranger.
Decline the ride and request help in other ways, such as:
- Borrowing a cell phone (if yours is dead)
- Asking for the driver to fetch gas for you
- Getting more details on your location
Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Car Run Close to E
Don’t buy into these inaccurate myths:
- Every car has 40-50 miles of range when the gas light comes on
- Fuel gauges always give precise readings
Gas mileage varies from one vehicle to the next, and fuel gauges are likely to lose accuracy over time.
You put unneeded strain on the fuel pump when you run your car on very little gas. When older vehicles run on low gas, the fuel pump pulls up sediment from the bottom of the tank and clogs the fuel filter. If your car runs out of gas, it can cause damage to the catalytic converter.
Keep these items in your car to help you through a fuel emergency:
- Reflective clothing
- Road maps
- Battery-powered phone charger
- A container of Magic Tank
Pekin Insurance Roadside Rescue is available to everyone who has a personal auto policy with us, and it provides 24/7 roadside assistance in all 50 states—at no extra cost to anyone who has Comprehensive Coverage! Contact your local Pekin Insurance agent to discover the benefits of Roadside Rescue.