If you break down in a work zone

Whether it's a blown tire or running out of gas, breakdowns are never a good thing. They can be especially challenging in road construction zones. It’s crucially important for motorists to be aware of their surroundings to stay safe. Wisconsin is one of many states that operates highway safety patrols for basic roadside service in some major work zones. This is done in the interest of keeping everyone safe by relocating disabled vehicles, brushing away debris and helping to manage traffic.

If you do break down in a work zone, it's important to keep cool and follow these guidelines:

  • Turn on your hazard lights. It's important to warn other motorists of your presence.
  • If you are OK and your vehicle is drivable, the Wisconsin Steer It, Clear It law requires you to move your vehicle to a safe location, away from traffic. Look for ramps or temporary pull-off zones.
  • Dial 911 for assistance, especially if your vehicle is inoperable and blocking a lane of traffic, or if someone is hurt. However, keep in mind that Wisconsin's highway safety patrols are often just moments away, so if help shows up before you can reach the phone, please refrain from dialing 911.
  • Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened. Your vehicle is typically the safest place to await roadside assistance. If you get out of your vehicle, you risk exposing yourself to potential work zone hazards such as unprotected drops, rough walking areas or construction equipment.  
  • Keep contact information for your insurance company or roadside assistance provider with you.
  • Know where you are, especially if you do need to call for help. Being aware of mile markers or guide signs will make it much easier for someone to find you.
  • Be prepared. It's a good idea to keep a few items in your car to help in the event of a breakdown, including a visibility vest, a charged mobile phone, a first-aid kit, a warm blanket, extra clothing, water and snacks.