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Road Safety 101: What to Do if You Run Out of Gas


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Running out of gas is no fun, particularly if you are in an area in which getting your vehicle fueled could be difficult. Should your vehicle run out of gas, you put yourself and your passengers at risk of an auto accident, particularly if it occurs on a roadway with fast-moving vehicles. Most importantly, if you are low on gas and there is no nearby gas station where you can refill, pull over to a safe spot by the side of the road, or exit the highway rather than continuing in the hopes that you will find one. Running out of gas in lanes of traffic puts everyone at risk, especially you and your passengers. Your vehicle will lose its power steering, and your car will become very difficult to control. Without power assistance with braking, the process of turning or braking takes a much greater effort.

Tips on What to Do If You Run Out of Gas:

  1. Pull over to the side of the road, or off the highway. Get as far from lanes of traffic as you can.

  2. Turn on your hazard lights at once.

  3. Do not step out of your vehicle without first carefully checking for oncoming vehicles.

  4. Call a friend or family member who could help you.

  5. If you have a roadside assistance program, call the number on your card and get assistance.

  6. Use a smart phone to find the nearest gas station, or call 411 for information. If it is in walking distance and it is safe to walk, do so. Never leave the passengers, particularly children, alone in the car. The gas station can deliver gas to you in many cases, and although it will cost you, it is far safer.

  7. If you are in a remote area, with no signal, call 911. Your phone will function for emergency calls, even if it appears there is no service.

  8. Rather than walking in rainy, snowy or icy weather, remain in your vehicle with your hazard lights on. Walking in these conditions is dangerous.

  9. Be careful in accepting rides from strangers. If you feel uncertain about someone who offers help, say that help is already on its way.

  10. If your car has sputtered and come to a stop, you need to move it off the roadway, but safely. Put the vehicle in neutral, and slowly push it to the side of the road. Walk beside the driver's side, with your hand on the steering wheel to guide it to the side of the road. If you are on a hill, this could be dangerous, and is not advised.

  11. Be careful with your cellphone charge. While you are waiting, or searching for information to help you, you can use up a lot of your cellphone's charge. Set your alerts to ringer rather than vibrate, as it uses less battery. Don't make calls you don't need to, and use your phone as little as possible.

  12. If you are in an urban area, simply ask a passerby for directions to the nearest gas station. If you are in a remote area, you need to find out where you are. Use a map, road signs or your cellphone to determine exactly where you are, and call to get help from a station that is close to your location.

How to Avoid Running Out Of Gas

There are few more annoying - and dangerous - driving situations than running out of gas. There are certain steps you can take to avoid this happening to you, including:

  1. Always refill at a quarter tank.

  2. Don't trust your gas gauge. If you are in hilly areas, or are running air conditioning, your gas will be used up far more quickly. Stop and fill up if you are getting low.

  3. If you are planning a long road trip in a remote area, get a government approved gas container, fill it, and keep it in your trunk. Ensure it is properly closed and clean before placing it in your vehicle; gas fumes are dangerous.

  4. Don't put off filling up your car. It is inconvenient, but the alternative is much worse.

  5. If you need gas, don't try to get to a cheaper station. Bite the bullet and fill up, because in the end you will only be paying a few cents more and you avoid the risk of running out of gas.

  6. If you are forgetful about filling up, set an alert on your phone to remind you.