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5 Tips for Safely Pushing Your Car

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Broken Down Car
Photo: Kaboompics

We all know the dreaded, sinking feeling of having a car that just won’t start. In some cases, this can leave you stranded on a roadway or a similarly inconvenient spot. If you get stuck in a similar situation, it helps to know the steps for safely pushing your vehicle to a better, quieter location. Here are a few things you should know about pushing your car.

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Hit the lights

Once your car becomes immobilized, hit the hazard lights. While you may think it seems obvious that your car is disabled, you don’t want to take any chances when communicating with other drivers. Bad weather, low lighting, and various distractions can all lead to a fellow road user colliding with your car.

Assess the situation

Consider your circumstances — are you in the thick of rush-hour traffic? Are you in the middle of an intersection? Is rain pouring down around you? Also, consider how far you’d have to push the car to get it to a safe location. If you’re facing inclement weather and heavy traffic, reconsider pushing your car — it’s too dangerous. Also, if you’re traveling alone, and have no one to help you push, then it’s time to call a tow truck, contact your auto club, or connect with your roadside assistance service. Pushing a car is a two-person job, and it’s dangerous to attempt alone. Stay in the car, wearing your seatbelt, just in case your car gets clipped by a passing vehicle.

Make it a team effort

As mentioned above, it’s necessary to have two or more people when pushing a car. One person should manage the steering and braking while the others push. If you’re pushing, keep a good distance from the rear wheels so your feet don’t get run over. Also, be mindful of where you’re pushing — try not to apply pressure to parts that could bend, dent, or warp.

Prepare your car

Before any pushing begins, activate your car’s parking brake. Then, shift your car into neutral so its wheels can roll freely. Stick in the key and start the ignition. Despite the fact that your car can’t start, turning on the ignition will unlock the steering wheel and make the whole process easier. It’s also a good idea to roll down the windows so the pushers and the driver can communicate. Once everyone is ready, release the parking brake.

Don’t forget gravity

Never try to push a car uphill. When you’re driving, you may barely notice slight inclines. However, these little changes in elevation can become merciless uphill battles when you’re pushing a vehicle. Even if you make it uphill slightly, the vehicle is liable to roll back down, harming anyone behind it. For safety’s sake, stick to the flattest route possible.

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Sources: Repair Pal, It Still Runs