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Everyone’s been there — standing in the rain, waiting for the tow truck to come. With perfect hindsight, you see exactly how you could have prevented getting stuck. Here’s to never letting it happen again.

Heed That Flashing Dash Sure they’re easy to ignore. But your dashboard lights are your best guard against a stalled car. Color counts: Blue or green mostly just lets you know what’s on and working. If a symbol lights up yellow or orange, get your car serviced soon to prevent an emergency on the road. If it’s flashing, or red? Don’t take a chance and pull over now.

Spare Wisdom You can drive away after a flat tire — if your spare tire is in order. Many compact cars don’t even have room for a tire in the trunk, but if you’re lucky you might find an inflator kit. Some cars are already equipped with run-flat tires, which are specially designed to keep you rolling on the road, even if the tire blows. Some have an extra layer of support inside the tire, and others can immediately “seal” a small puncture so the air doesn’t leak out. Most can be driven up to 50 miles at 50 miles per hour. So how do you know if you have run-flat tires? Look on your sidewalls for the letters RSC (run-flat system component), RFT (run-flat tires), SST (self-supporting technology) or EMT (extended-mobility technology) in a circle, or this symbol: .

Tip
To find the recommended tire pressure for your car’s make and model, look for a sticker on the driver’s side doorjamb.
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Stay Topped Up If your car quits on you and you have to pull over, check your gas tank first. Don’t shell out for a tow if all you need is an extra gallon. Speaking of fuel, a failed fuel pump can also leave you stranded. If you often run your car close to empty, the pump can get damaged, since the components need gas to stay cool and lubricated. Try to keep your gas tank at least one-quarter full.

Ignition Smarts Keyless or push-button ignition may be cool, but what happens when the battery or mechanism wears out? Some makers build a mechanical key into the fob, or hide a keyhole under the cover of the ignition switch or nearby. Grill your dealer or check your owner’s manual for that backup plan. With the right knowledge, you may not be stranded after all.

Sense Offenses Another early warning tip: Watch out for weird signs that something’s wrong, and alert your mechanic as soon as possible. An odor in the air vents, a pull to the right, grinding gears or headlights that dim when you idle can all be signs of problems that could leave you stranded. If your car handles, smells or sounds different than it usually does, note the details and get them checked ASAP.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED A TOW ANYWAY?

Turn on your emergency flashers and pull over
This lets other cars know that they should keep their distance or drive around you.


Call for roadside assistance
It's an automatic benefit of being an Allstate customer. Find out more here.


Tell the dispatcher if you feel unsafe
If you do, stay in your car and lock your doors and windows until the tow truck arrives.


Have a preferred dealership or repair shop
Know in advance where you want the tow truck to take your car in case of a breakdown.


Learn More

Sign up for Good Hands® Roadside Assistance for access to the open-to-everyone Allstate 24/7 Nationwide Roadside network.