Summer is already over for some of us, and the rest are counting the remaining days. Here is the last of our series about Roadside Survival, which are all meant to give you some knowledge to carry forward in case you need it. I know, I know, some of us don’t like to plan so much, but you’ll be driving for a long time, so you may as well be prepared!
Running out of gas.
You must be thinking… Who really runs out of gas? Seriously? Well, it happens more often than not. Reviewing Walt Brinker’s book, Roadside Survival – Low-tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns, there are many reasons why it happens, some basic ones are:
- Driver inattention to the gauge
- The gas gauge is inaccurate
- Driver trying to squeeze out “just a few more miles” before refueling
- There isn’t a gas station nearby
Unfortunately, there really isn’t much that can be done if your car runs out of gas and stops. There are two simple answers: put in more gas or get towed. As drivers of the car, we have to take preventative measures to avoid driving into those situations.
- Carry a 1 gallon gas can (empty) which can be used to bring fuel from a gas station in these situations. (Hopefully there is a gas station nearby)
- Check your vehicle manual to find out your gas tank capacity
- Make it a habit to always fuel up immediately once you hit the 1/4 mark on your tank
- If your fuel gauge is broken, get it fixed. Until then, set the trip odometer to zero at each fill up and estimate the remaining fuel and miles to go based on the distance traveled.
In the situation that your car does run out of gas:
- Using the leftover momentum of the car, try to pull over into a safe area off the road.
- If the vehicle dies out before you can make it to the shoulder:
- Turn on your emergency blinkers
- Set your car into neutral
- Slowly get out of the car (check for traffic)
- Have a friend help push the vehicle while you safely steer the vehicle to the shoulder.
- Once your vehicle is safely stopped on the shoulder, assess the situation respond accordingly.
Remember, when its always best to take a proactive approach on this. Don’t wait till the last minute to fill up. You’d hate to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere without gas.
Brinker, W. (2014). Roadside survival: Low-tech solutions to automobile breakdowns. United States: Lighting Source Publishing Platform. www.roadsidesurvival.com