Do’s and Don’ts of Helping People on the Road:
Most of us have been there. The car is out of gas, tire popped, no oil, broken part, you name it there are hundreds of issues that could happen to your vehicle while you’re on the road. You pull off to the side the best you can, and call somebody for help. Sometimes you can’t pull over and you’re in the middle of the road making more traffic, and forcing people to awkwardly navigate around you. The feeling is miserable, embarrassing, and you feel like you yourself are the problem. Or God forbid, you are driving and have some kind of medical emergency.
Now that you can recall those feelings, remember them next time you see someone struggling on the road. Don't just pass without a second thought, or lie to yourself saying someone else will help them. I understand that some plans are extremely important and must be taken care of immediately, so no judgments if you actually do not have the time to help. Plans such as those are few and far between. You can be late to your friends house, late to feed your pets, late to the gym, sometimes late to work, be real with yourself and what your doing, because someone’s life could be in danger.
Being helpful requires much less than you think it does. You don’t have to be an expert on cars, you don’t have to be rich, you don’t need to have all the tools conveniently stashed in your car. Sometimes all you have to do is be there, and more often than not it’s enough.
Please note that you should do the following if you feel safe to do so, if you get any fishy feelings get out of there as soon as you can, trust your gut.
1. If you can pull off to the side safely and walk to the person with a problem do so. If they are stuck in the middle of the road and there is no place for you to pull off, pull up behind said person, turn on your emergency lights and walk to the problem vehicle.
2. When walking to the vehicle keep your hands out of your pockets, wave if they are looking at you. Show them open palms so they know you’re not some weirdo, kidnapper, or any kind of threat.
3. Make the first interaction, ask if everyone is okay, introduce yourself, ask if they know what the problem is. If the problem is a medical emergency, heart attack, stroke, seizure call an ambulance, do not waste any time doing so.
4. Attempt to identify the problem, some are MUCH easier to identify. Lack of gas or popped tire are probably the easiest. After the problem is identified, the person is stuck on the road and you can, move them off to the side out of the way of traffic.
5. Find a solution/ask if they have someone to call, and think if you have anyone you could call to get help from.
6. If they’ve made a call just offer to wait with them until help arrives. Sometimes when there are multiple people out trying to solve a car issue, strangers feel more comfortable asking if everything is alright, and seeing if there is a way they can help.
Casper is a relatively safe city, so I have not had any times where I was helping/waiting with someone and felt I was in danger. As a man if there is a woman whether it's some poor 16-year-old girl, someone's grandma, or a veteran, you HAVE to make purpose to establish that you’re not dangerous or any kind of threat, and for the love of God, do not to hit on the person in emotional distress. Which is a perfect segway into what not to do.
1. Do not just drive away, maybe someone will come to help them, but maybe you are the only person who does.
2. Don’t take up every lane imaginable, that makes the whole situation more dangerous for everyone. Only take the room you need.
3. Don’t belittle the person you are helping, we are all human, we all make mistakes.
4. Don’t hit on or try to flirt with the person who is currently going through car troubles.