If you see that your gas tank is approaching “E”, you may put “fill up the gas tank” on your to-do list and go on with your day. But sometimes life gets in the way, and you may be busy and have forgotten about it. If it’s too late, and you’ve reached the point of no return and you’ve run out of gas, you need to remedy the issue ASAP. Here’s what to do if you run out of gas.
Warning signs that you’ve run out of gas
When you’re out of gas, there may not be a dramatic halt notifying you that it’s time to fuel up. But there are plenty of warning signs that you’ve hit the dreaded “E” and should get to safety and fill up ASAP. These include:
- Vibrations in the car — you may feel your car or steering wheel vibrating
- Lack of power or momentum — it may be difficult to accelerate and go forward
- Odd engine noises — if it feels like your car is going “putt putt putt” and on the struggle bus, it’s time to fill up as your engine is sputtering
If any of these things are happening or you hear or feel anything else peculiar, it’s likely your car is grasping for fuel to try and keep going.
Get off the road and turn on emergency blinkers
It’s one thing to run out of gas. It’s another to have your car lose speed or power and end up inadvertently causing an accident. That’s why it’s crucial to get off the road and pull over somewhere safe. This can be the shoulder or side of the road, out of traffic flow. Once there, turn on your emergency blinkers.
Identify where you are
Once you pull over, you may need to leave your car and get gas or notify help where you’re at. Hopefully, your phone has signal, and you can get your GPS location. Look to see if you’re near any particular streets or freeway exits, notable buildings, or memorable location markers.
Go to the closest gas station
If you’re wondering what to do if you run out of gas, it makes sense that you need to get gas to fix the issue. That means heading to the closest gas station and buying a gas can to get your car back on the road and moving.
You can use the Google Maps search function and look up “gas stations.” You can also use GasBuddy.com and use the “Find Gas” tab to see affordable and nearby gas stations.
Since your car is likely out of commission, you may need to walk or take a ride-sharing service there. Be mindful of the potential hazards of walking if you’re on the highway or a busy intersection or if you’re in a poorly lit or dangerous area. In that case, opting for a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft can help get you there safely.
Phone a friend
If you run out of gas, you may want a friendly and familiar face to help you. In that case, phone a friend to see if they can help. Obviously, this option depends on if you have friends or family nearby that are available, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Your friends or family can pick you up to get a portable gas can to help you get back on the road. That should be enough to get you to the nearest gas station.
Call for roadside assistance
You may be able to get roadside assistance to help you if you’ve run out of gas if you’re a current AAA member or if your car insurance provider offers it. You may be able to access this by calling or using their app, if applicable. Metromile offers roadside assistance as an additional coverage to your car insurance policy to help make sure you’re covered if you get into a situation like this.
The bottom line
If you’re out of gas, it can be anxiety-inducing and derail your day or evening. But you can remedy the issue by taking these steps. The most important part is to get to a safe place and get gas quickly so you can move on with your day. To prevent the issue in the future, fill up after the gas tank gets past the halfway mark or set a day per week to fill up so you’re never in danger of running out of gas.
Also, see if your insurance provider offers roadside assistance if such an incident should arise. Metromile offers roadside assistance coverage and affordable rates for low-mileage drivers. If you drive here and there or mostly for errands, making the switch can lower your car insurance costs. If you’re still paying a flat rate for coverage and paying for miles you don’t drive, it’s time to re-think your auto insurance. Get a quote with Metromile today.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.