Running out of gas is just about the most embarrassing situation one can put themselves in. And waiting for roadside assistance is another horror story, altogether. This is especially true if you run out of gas at night, because every serial killer comes out of the woodwork to help and give you a lift (Where to? Likely to your own early grave). It’s always good to know your vehicle’s fuel limit and how far you can push that limit. Keeping the tank filled when possible helps, but when you’re on a summer road trip with many miles between gas stations, sometimes it can’t be helped. Besides, nothing’s more stressful and puts a big damper on a relaxing vacation than knowing at any minute, you could be stranded on the side of the road. So here are a few tips for conserving fuel, whether you’re running on empty or just want to save money and help the environment.

• Don’t punch the gas
• Use the air conditioning less or turn it off entirely
• Lose the excess weight
• Roof rack or ski racks catch drag
• Keep windows and sunroof closed
• Don’t drive in rush hour traffic
• Make fewer trips
• Don’t speed
• Keep tires at proper inflation

Most auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance for a reasonable price. If you don’t have it or cannot afford it, check with your state’s department of transportation (DOT) as most states offer free roadside assistance on highways and toll ways. Keep the number handy. And remember to always keep your cell phone charged. For any road trip, investing in a roadside hazard safety kit with reflective triangles and a working flashlight would be another good idea.

And, remember, if you run out of gas and pull to either shoulder of a high speed roadway, never use your hazard lights. Drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights (like blonds are attracted to shiny objects) and they may crash into your stopped car. For this reason, if you turn on your signal light (as if you are attempting to re-enter the roadway from the shoulder), other drivers, concerned that you may pull out in front of them, will hopefully move over a lane, thus putting an empty lane between your car and theirs, making it safer for both you and for those other drivers.

So, don’t put yourself in an unnecessary situation and have a safe and fun road trip this summer.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Conserving Fuel – Comedy Defensive Driving