Invitation From "Roadside Survival" Moderator

  • Roadside Moderators

    From Roadside Survival Moderator:

    Here is a thought when considering whether to teach Roadside Survival and how much priority it should have in a driver education program:

    NTSA estimates that 5.25 million vehicle accidents of all types occur annually in the US. This compares with 30 million yearly calls for assistance to AAA alone; I know from experience that this number from AAA represents only a small fraction of total breakdowns. So breakdowns are at least six times as likely as accidents; likely this figure is much higher.

    Safety implications are obvious: The safest breakdown is the one prevented so it doesn’t happen! The safest breakdown that happens is the one with minimum exposure to risks – normally a function of time stranded.

    I agree that consequences from an accident generally are more serious than from a breakdown. But vehicle breakdowns, whose chances of happening are so much greater, usually involve inconvenience, lost time, discomfort, anxiety, and sometimes injury and death - when another vehicle hits one broken down and when human predators prey upon folks in a broken down vehicle. Injury also is possible when a stranded motorist tries to help himself but is neither trained nor equipped to do it safely.

    Driver Education teachers may copy and use material from the same PowerPoint file I use for presentations to driver education conferences around the country (all I ask is that users credit me as their source!). Just go to my website page for Driver Education:

    Want to discuss Roadside Survival? Ask me.

  • administrators

    Hi @Walt-Brinker,

    Thanks for getting the conversation started! I saw a stranded motorist on my way to drop off my daughter at school this morning. But then I took another route home. Feeling a bit guilty I didn't follow your example and help them out!

    At the risk of being pedantic, we driver ed types don't use the term "accident." We call them crashes. "Accident" implies no fault, when, in most cases, there's a driver-related reason why a crash occurred.

  • Do not rely on your *** Roadside assistance card..(there are many companies that provide this service) as meaningful as they are I would like to share a story.
    My wife was on her way home from up north, 11pm and had a blowout on the interstate, she felt confident her **** Membership would be her saving grace, she made the call.. need help with a flat tire, what is your location ma'am.. mile marker 106, east bound I96 she replied, ok ma'am I need a cross street.. I96 east of U.S 127, no ma'am.. I need a street name.. to shorten the story, she had to walk down the side of the interstate 2 miles, 11pm to get a street name so ***** would respond (this was pre mapquest). Fortunately that was the worst part of the story except my phone call to **** which went to the TOP as I was FURIOUS that they would take this action with a small female, at night, on the interstate. **** was apologetic and offered 1 yr free roadside for which I declined as I informed them to cancel my subscription, refund my money and I would contact their competitor.
    They provide a service with good intention, generally provide said service in a timely manner and promote their service as "Piece of mind protection". Accidents/crashes are not the only potential ramification that could occur, you are on your own when a breakdown happens.. think of it that way before you set out. This story was the 2nd such incident in a year with **** roadside assistance.
    Vehicle inspection/ service are paramount in preventing a breakdown, driver understanding of vehicle systems and recognizing a "potential" issue is at the top of prevention.

  • Roadside Moderators

    My bad on "accidents". My source for that NTSA stat actually said "crashes". I don't always stop for broken down vehicles either. If I have a tight schedule to be somewhere, if my wife or grandchildren are aboard, or if conditions are unsafe I very rarely stop. But when those conditions are absent I normally do stop. Had two great assists Christmas Eve and two more Christmas Day (Ho, Ho, Ho). Returning home Sunday from visiting some ill friends in Virginia I made two. I do not encourage folks who otherwise would not feel comfortable stopping for a stranger to do so, but I have a good eye for trouble and I have never felt threatened.

  • Roadside Moderators

    Two hundred million licensed motor vehicle drivers in the United States expose themselves routinely to significant risk while betting that they will not become stranded when they drive. There are two kinds of drivers: 1) those who have already experienced a disabled vehicle (and will again), and 2) those who will for the first time. Each year AAA receives 30 million calls for assistance – just a fraction of total breakdowns. So, it’s not a matter of whether you will break down; it’s a matter of when, where, and how often.

    Some folks ask, "Why should I worry about breakdowns? I'll just call for XYZ commercial roadside assistance." I don't knock these assist companies. I can confirm that they usually provide good service in places where they use their own people and equipment, although they're not always timely. Problems occur with breakdowns away from their offices where they often subcontract the work to third stringers who are incompetent. I have seen a lot of this. But why not focus on preventing breakdowns in the first place?

    I'm a firm believer in the adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Stick with me on this forum and you'll learn more than you could have believed about preventing and contending with breakdowns. Start by visiting my website:

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