SAN DIEGO — With the holidays right around the corner and more congestion expected on area roadways, San Diego motorists should be aware they can protect themselves by using the toll-free “5-1-1 for Roadside Assistance” service, operated by the San Diego Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE) Mobile Call Box Program.
Motorists driving on San Diego County freeways/highways can place a toll-free call to 5-1-1 on their cell phone when in need of non-emergency roadside assistance while remaining in the safety of their vehicle.
In addition, the program operates in conjunction with the SANDAG ATIS program to provide additional services through 5-1-1, including real-time traffic conditions, driving times and ride sharing in San Diego County.
The program also offers these tips to improve driver and passenger safety.
Use 5-1-1 roadside assistance
In the event of a flat tire or empty gas tank, motorists on highways and freeways are encouraged to follow these guidelines:
1. Pull over to the shoulder of the road.
2. Turn on the vehicle’s hazard lights.
3. Determine one’s location by the nearest exit, highway number or other landmark.
4. Stay inside the vehicle and call 5-1-1 from a cell phone.
5. When prompted, say “Roadside assistance.”
The call will then be directed to the Call Box Answer Center, where a representative will help the motorist receive proper assistance and provide information for various services, including the California Highway Patrol, AAA and manufacturer help line.
Safety begins with seatbelts
While it sounds obvious, keeping children buckled while traveling to and from activities is a must.
Although a child may want to unbuckle himself, impress upon him the importance of seatbelts and how they can protect him.
Go hands-free (no texting)
No phone call or text message is worth an accident. Whether driving near or far, let that call go to voicemail or use a hands-free device.
Fuel up to be safe
In order to protect oneself and one’s passengers and to ensure one can act quickly in the face of an emergency, it is important to keep a vehicle’s gas tank at least one-quarter full at all times.
Don’t drink and drive
The holidays are quickly approaching. If drinking will be a part of the festivities and driving is involved, a designated driver needs to be established. Discuss who it will be before the event starts.