Ask Trooper Steve: What should you do if you’re stuck on the side of a highway?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – Picture this.

You’re driving along your favorite Florida highway when you hear a clunking noise coming from your car’s engine, so you pull over onto the shoulder.

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Now what?

Your next move might save your life, says News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero.

“Disabled vehicles happen all the time, but we just need to know what to do especially on these highways,” Trooper Steve said.

Fatal crashes involving people stuck on the side of the road are a tragically common in Central Florida. Over the weekend, a 23-year-old South Florida woman was hit and killed on Interstate 4 in Orange County when she tried walking across the eastbound lanes.

Check your surroundings and activate your flashers

If you must pull over, the first step is to activate your hazard lights, also known as flashers. Next, check your mirrors and get out of the travel lanes as quickly and safely as you can.

“I’m always going to suggest you go to the right shoulder, but if you can’t, get to that left-hand side. Just clear those travel lanes,” he said.

If your open car door would protrude into the travel lanes, you’re not over far enough, he said.

Emergency exit

“Live by the door.”

From here, the best thing to do is to stay inside of your car. As a pedestrian on the side of a highway, you are vulnerable to oncoming cars and it is important to take extra precautions.

If you must exit your car, Trooper Steve suggests getting out through your passenger side if your driver’s side is close to oncoming traffic.

Call for assistance

“If you can, stay in that car, stay in the car.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is here to help drivers in this situation. Trooper Steve recommends calling *FHP (347) and a road ranger or trooper will assist by adding extra visibility to your disabled vehicle.

Never walk into the travel lanes

“Our depth perception at night is so messed up,” Trooper Steve said.

When cars are whizzing past at 70+ miles per hour, crossing a major road or highway is extremely dangerous. Even if you are near the travel lanes, be extra cautious because other drivers may not be paying attention.

Last summer, an FHP trooper was assisting a disabled motorist when a Tesla crashed into their patrol car on the side of I-4.

“Wait with your car, it’s just too dangerous,” Trooper Steve said.


About the Authors:

Katrina Scales joined News 6 as a TV producer in June 2021.

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.