A vehicle stalling can be incredibly scary for the driver, especially if they are traveling at high speeds on the highway. Therefore, it’s good to know what to do if your car stalls on the highway to minimize your risk of an accident. While it can be very difficult to predict when a car might stall, knowing how to react appropriately could mean the difference between a minor incident and a severe accident.
A car stalls when its engine abruptly stops functioning. This can happen for several reasons, including a lack of airflow into the appropriate components of the engine, fuel starvation, a mechanical failure, or a sudden spark inside the engine. When these incidents occur on the highway, the driver’s actions in the next few seconds can determine whether they come out of the situation with minimal issues or suffer severe injuries.
What to Do When Your Car Stalls on the Highway
Every driver should have some knowledge of what to do if their engine suddenly stops working while driving, especially if this occurs at high speeds:
- If it is possible and safe to do so, you should pull your vehicle over to the side of the road before it shuts down completely. Pull over to the right side of the road if you can do so safely.
- Once your vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, engage your hazard lights, so other drivers behind you notice your vehicle.
- If you cannot pull over your vehicle before it stops completely, do not leave your vehicle. Instead, turn on your hazard lights and stay inside your car. Then, call the police to report the incident, so first responders can get to you and help.
- If you are stuck inside your stalled vehicle in the middle of the highway, carefully watch your rearview mirrors to stay alert for approaching vehicles.
- If you must leave your vehicle immediately, do so through the passenger door.
- If you remain inside of your vehicle, keep wearing your seatbelt. If another driver hits your vehicle, this can prevent serious injuries.
- You might think you can repair your car, but do not attempt to do so if you are stuck in the middle of the highway. Instead, wait for a tow truck or other assistance to arrive. If you can pull over safely to the side of the road and your vehicle only requires a minor repair, you may attempt to fix it but only do so if you know what you are doing.
Hopefully, these tips will help you minimize your risk of experiencing a significant injury if another driver does not notice your stalled vehicle in time to avoid a collision.
What Happens If Someone Hits My Stalled Vehicle?
Every driver has a duty of care to drive their vehicle carefully and attentively. If your vehicle stalls and you engage your hazard lights, other drivers should notice this and drive carefully around your vehicle. Unfortunately, a distracted driver may not notice your vehicle in time to avoid an accident. If your vehicle stalls due to no fault of your own and another driver hits your stalled vehicle, liability for the incident falls to the other driver.
A personal injury attorney is the best resource to consult in this situation. Your legal team can help you prove liability for your damages and help you hold the negligent driver accountable for the losses they caused. The other driver may attempt to assert comparative negligence to reduce their overall liability for the incident, but their assertion of comparative negligence is unlikely to stand in court if your vehicle stalled due to issues beyond your immediate control. However, if you do anything negligent that contributes to the accident or adds to your total damages, you may face comparative negligence and lose a percentage of your case award.
Q: What Should You Do If Your Car Stalls on the Highway?
A: The aforementioned tips are good to keep in mind if your vehicle suddenly stalls on the highway. Your priorities should be removing your vehicle from the path of nearby traffic and minimizing your exposure to other drivers. Try to stay as far to the right as possible and pull off the road before your engine shuts down completely if you can do so.
Q: Can a Car Stall at High Speeds?
A: The most common cause of a car’s engine stalling is a problem with the air-to-fuel ratio inside the engine. However, this issue most commonly causes low-speed engine stalls. When a car stalls at high speed, the most probable cause is an issue with the vehicle’s charging or ignition systems. Yes, a car can stall at high speeds, but stalling is more likely to occur at lower speeds.
Q: Is the Vehicle Manufacturer Liable for Stalling?
A: It’s possible for your vehicle’s manufacturer to be accountable for a defect that causes your car to stall, but the manufacturer is not automatically responsible for an accident caused by a vehicle stalling. An investigation will determine exactly why the vehicle stalled. Therefore, liability can fall to the manufacturer or another party, depending on how the accident happened.
Q: Am I Responsible for My Vehicle Stalling?
A: You may be concerned about incurring liability for an accident resulting from your vehicle stalling. However, if the vehicle stalled due to a mechanical issue that you had no way of recognizing before getting into your vehicle, it is unlikely that you would be deemed liable for the accident. However, if you were negligent in the care and maintenance of your vehicle or failed to conduct yourself appropriately when managing your stalled vehicle, you may absorb some liability for any accidents that occur after your vehicle stalls.
A vehicle suddenly stalling can be terrifying. Unfortunately, when accidents happen because of sudden stalling, the affected driver may feel lost when it comes to determining their best legal options for resolving the situation. If you need legal counsel after an accident resulting from a stalled vehicle, contact the Kreeger Law Firm and schedule a consultation with our team.