How to Push a Car to the Side of the Road

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Unfortunately, there may be a time when you have to push your car to the side of the road. Maybe your engine has stalled, or you have a dead battery. No matter the reason, it is important to remember that safety is the number one priority in this situation. You must look at your choices and determine the best course of action. If you can leave a stalled car where it is, then it is best to do so. But if you must move it, there are steps you can take that will make it easier and more secure.
Remember — moving a stalled car is at a minimum a two-person job. Do not risk injury by attempting to do it alone. Besides it being almost impossible, it is very dangerous. Also it is safest to only attempt to push a car if you plan to do it across a flat surface — and never uphill.
In this article, you’ll learn how to make your car more visible, how to position everyone who is helping move the vehicle, how to maneuver the car, and how to park.

Make Your Car More Visible

It is extremely important that other drivers on the road see you as you push your vehicle.
Materials Needed
Step 1: Turn on your emergency hazard lights. To be safe is to be seen.
Step 2: Put out LED roadside flares. Place the flares behind your stalled car.
Traffic will see the flares about a mile ahead of time, allowing the drivers time to prepare for a hazard. You want to place one flare about 10 feet behind your car and the other about 300 feet behind your car.

Position you and your helper

Step 1: Find at least one person to help. It takes at least two people to push a car.
If you don’t have passengers with you that can help, look around to see if there are any good Samaritans about. Three or four people assisting are better, but the minimum needed is two because one has to use the steering wheel from the driver’s seat. Depending on the road conditions, you may not be able to push it at all.
Step 2: Determine who will do what. Decide who is going to steer and who is going to push.

Maneuver the car

Step 1: Guide the car to a safe location. You will have to coordinate the steering and manipulation of the car’s movement.
  • Make sure the driver has the car window down so communication is clear between this person and everyone else.
  • Make sure your key is in the “on” position even if the car won’t start.
  • Make sure the car is in neutral, whether you have manual transmission or automatic transmission.
  • Make sure the driver can easily brake when commanded. Have the driver test the brake pedal early on.
Step 2: Use concise movements. Calculate the car’s direction as much as possible.
Unlike an operational vehicle, you cannot easily or quickly move a stalled car. So you must think about how you are going to maneuver it to the side of the road. If possible, use calculated pushes of the car and steering of the wheel. If not possible, once the car starts moving just do what you can to steer it out of the way of traffic.

Park your car

Securely park your car. Park your car like you normally would. Place your car in park, turn off the ignition, and set the parking brake.
Pushing a car to the side of the road is not an easy task. It takes the help of others, as well the patience to do it in a calm and safe manner. After successfully maneuvering your car to a secure location, you must park it. At this point, you can call for a tow truck, a roadside assistance agency, or a body shop.

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