Car problems and minor fender benders can happen at any time. If you are involved in a more serious crash where there is a life-threatening injury or fatality, always call 9-1-1.
Look for blue or green reference markers in the median to report to the dispatcher your exact location. Simply read the direction you are traveling in and the route information. Minor incidents such as tire blow outs and car break downs can be frightening, too. Performing routine maintenance on your vehicle can help prevent your car from breaking down; however, if your vehicle should become disabled, use the following tips until help arrives.
- Park your vehicle as far off the busy roadway as possible.
- Turn on your four-way emergency flashers (hazard lights).
- Stay in your vehicle until help arrives, especially at night or inclement weather.
- If someone stops, crack your window and ask them to phone the police for assistance.
- If you must leave your vehicle along the highway, notify the police, sheriff or highway patrol of its location and the circumstances.
- From a cell phone, call *47 to reach the Kansas Highway Patrol or *55 to reach the Missouri State Highway Patrol in emergencies.
Programs such as Motorist Assist and Kansas City Scout can provide additional help for motorists who are stranded on Kansas City area interstates and freeways.
A Motorist Assist driver can assist when a vehicle breaks down in an area and time served by the program. Operators are trained to assist with different kinds of emergencies along roadways, and services are provided at no charge. Kansas Motorist Assist patrols from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and covers 262 miles in Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties. Missouri Motorist Assist patrols from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on holidays, along major roadways.
Don’t drink and drive
The amount of alcohol in a person’s body is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is called the blood alcohol concentration, or “BAC.” Every state has passed a law making it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. A driver also can be arrested with a BAC below .08 when a law enforcement officer has probable cause, based on the driver’s behavior.
How fast a person’s BAC rises varies with a number of factors:
- The number of drinks you have.
- How fast you drink.
- Your gender.
- Your weight.
- How recently you’ve eaten.
Medications or drugs will not change your BAC. However, if you drink alcohol while taking certain medications, you may feel — and be — more impaired, which can affect your ability to perform driving-related tasks.
Because of the multitude of factors that affect BAC, it is very difficult to assess your own BAC or impairment. Though small amounts of alcohol affect one’s brain and the ability to drive, people often swear they are “fine” after several drinks — but in fact, the failure
to recognize alcohol impairment is often a symptom of impairment. A person will likely be too impaired to drive before looking — or maybe even feeling — “drunk.”
Alcohol steadily decreases a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. In single-vehicle crashes, the relative risk of a driver with BAC between .08 and .10 is at least 11 times greater than for drivers with a BAC of zero, and 52 times greater for young males. Many studies have shown that even small amounts of alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive.
If you plan on drinking, plan not to drive. You should always:
- Choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver
- Ask ahead of time if you can stay over at your host’s house
- Take a taxi
- Always wear your safety belt — it’s your best defense against impaired drivers