What To Do If You Run Out Of Gas
If you run out of gas on the road, the best option you have is to find a safe place to stay, know your location, and call for help. Be it AAA, your car insurance, friends, or 9-1-1, there are several ways to get help.
This article will examine in detail the steps to take if you run out of gas. Let’s dive in.
How does your car act when you’re low on gas?
One important thing about running out of gas is that your car engine will only partially lose functionality when the gas tank is empty. There will be several indications of warning that, when coupled with the empty sign on your gas gauge, should give you a strong warning that your fuel stock is running low and the need to pull over your car to safety on the side of the road.
Look out for the following warning signs or symptoms to confirm if your car has run out of gas:
- Surging - You can detect this symptom by feeling a jerking sensation from behind the wheel, similar to the feeling as if your vehicle stops for a moment and then thrusts forward: such is an implication of inconsistent fuel supply.
- Engine Sputtering - This symptom will give the impression that the car engine is hiccuping or burping, resulting from excess air and insufficient fuel entering the cylinder.
- Backfire- This symptom is common in older vehicles as a loud pop and less so in newer vehicles, and it’s like a firework going off, emanating from the tailpipe. This sign may also indicate that you have a low gas tank.
- Power loss - This symptom will be one of the earliest indications of an empty gas tank and is more glaring when going uphill. If you place your foot on the gas pedal and the car doesn’t accelerate, fuel starvation is likely to be the cause.
What to do if your car runs out of gas on the road
Let’s now see the steps you can take when your car runs on an empty fuel gauge.
1. Safely pull over your vehicle
The most crucial thing to know about running out of gas is that you sure don’t want to transform an inconvenience into an accident. So, when your indicator for low fuel is on, and your car is showing symptoms of a low fuel tank, quickly switch on your emergency flashers or hazard lights and pull over your vehicle safely to the right shoulder of the road.
While getting your vehicle off the highway in a pullout location is good, avoid risking your car stalling out in the center of the road by trying to push it a little ahead to a more suitable spot. You should get the vehicle to a safe distance off the highway as possible to enable safe passage of traffic. Stay in your car with the seatbelt fastened.
If you cannot pull your car off the highway, step out of your vehicle and look for a safe spot to stand well off the road.
2. Know Your Location
It is crucial to know the exact location of your car so that there is clarity when help comes. Furthermore, if you have to exit your vehicle, you won’t want to be pacing around searching for it on the way back. Take note of your GPS coordinates if possible.
If you cannot get your GPS location from a smart device, meticulously note the name of the highway, the direction you’re traveling, a major landmark, and the nearest mile marker to aid in specifying your location.
3. Call for Roadside Assistance
After pulling over your car safely, call the most reliable roadside assistance and inform them about your situation. If it is a fuel delivery service you’re getting, ensure they know what fuel your car’s fuel system requires. If not, request that they come along with a fuel can and patiently wait for them to any of the closest gas stations.
4. Go to the Nearest Gas Station
Try walking to the nearest gas station to fill your low tank. This option can be a last resort if all the other options fail, which is unlikely.
Remember the following tips if you have to walk to find fuel.
- Walk back from the same direction you were coming from - If you run out of fuel in a remote area, avoid walking without direction.
- Trace your steps back in the order in which you came, as you’re more oriented with the site.
5. Prepare for unforeseen circumstances
Only try walking to get gas if you’ve eaten enough to sustain yourself for an extended hike. Make sure you’re visible: Ensure that the oncoming traffic can see you as you’re walking to safety.
Who Do You Call When You Run Short of Gas?
When you run short of gas, it’s crucial to take a deep breath, stay calm, and know that there are several numbers you can reach out to to get out of your dilemma.
Car Insurance - If AAA is unavailable, it is ideal to call your auto insurance company. Several auto insurance policies come with a towing service that includes one towing annually. If unavailable, you should find out the price of a tow truck from a reliable towing company and use it to get to a gas station.
Friends or Family - While the likelihood of you running out of gas in an area where your friends or a family member can come to your aid may be low, it’s ideal to put a call across to inform them of your situation. And even if they cannot directly help you, they can make one or more calls.
9-1-1; Although It may not look like an emergency to run out of gas, there’s nothing shameful about reaching out to 9-1-1 if no other option is available to help. If you are blocking traffic in any manner, or you feel like the location of your car poses a danger to other drivers, then this call will be a top priority.