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Flat tire on a highway? Here's why you shouldn't try to fix it

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If you're cruising down a highway and realize you have a flat tire, you may want to think twice before stopping to fix it on the side of the road.

"Even if you have an emergency, it's never a good idea to stop on the highway," points out David Marcille, Montreal spokesperson for CAA-Quebec. "It's way too dangerous...It's pretty scary to have all these cars coming 100 kilometres per hour fast next to you."

Early Thursday morning, a man in his 30s was killed after pulling over to change a flat tire on the Gédéon-Ouimet Bridge, which links Laval to Boisbriand north of Montreal.

"A pick-up truck hit him before leaving the scene," said Elizabeth Marquis-Guy, a spokesperson with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).

CAA-Quebec explains it's actually illegal for an individual to stop on a highway.

So, what should you do if you find yourself with a flat?

According to CAA-Quebec, anyone who gets a flat on a highway should always try to drive until the next exit.

"If you can't make it because your flat is too big or whatever reason, the best is to go the furthest possible to the shoulder on the right as far as you can from the traffic," said Marcille. "Do not step out of your car."

He points out that people should:

  • Turn on their hazard lights;
  • dial 911;
  • and wait for an emergency vehicle.

"[If] you still consider this situation to be too dangerous, you can get out of your vehicle using the passenger door to walk away as far as possible to really get far from the traffic," he said.

Marcille notes people can also remotely open the hood of their car to alert people to their situation.

"When you have an emergency situation on the highway, sometimes you have to make tough decisions," said Marcille. "For instance, do I keep driving, damaging even more my tires? The answer is yes."

Marcille points out that the most common causes of serious collisions are distracted driving and speeding.

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