Roadside Chat - Slid off road? Stay inside to stay alive

1-12 slid off roadWith the winter turning colder and snowier, you may find yourself on a slick road. If you end up off in the ditch or shoulder and you’re not able to get your vehicle back on the road safely, the best thing to do is stay inside the vehicle. Use your cell phone if you have one to call 911 for assistance or wait for someone to stop to help you.

While you’re safest inside your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, you may need to get into your emergency kit to get a blanket, warm gear, or water/snacks if you’ve been stranded for a while. If your emergency kit is in the trunk and you need to get it out, bring the entire kit into the vehicle if possible, to minimize your time outside your car.

If you are in the Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Quad Cities, or Iowa City/Cedar Rapids metro areas, our Highway Helper patrols might be dispatched to help you. The free service assists motorists with flat tires, jump starts, and fuel. If more extensive repairs are needed, the highway helper can take you to a safe location where you can make arrangements to have your vehicles moved to a safer location.

Highway Helper trucks patrol the freeway and interstate systems and are dispatched to other Iowa DOT roadways in Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, and Quad Cities metro areas from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays in Des Moines; and some holidays and special events. In addition to patrolling the area, the Iowa DOT Traffic Management Center uses traffic cameras to monitor roadways and dispatches Highway Helper trucks to needed locations.

So far this year in Iowa, four people have been killed in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of three since last Friday. In Iowa in 2023, there were 378 traffic-related deaths. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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