Many people, in instances where their car has broken down on the side of the road, wait in their car until help arrives. However, at times it might not be feasible to wait in the vehicle as you never know when the tow car might arrive. You may want to reach on time to your meeting or take your family to a safer place instead of the road if your vehicle has been broken down in the middle of the night. There are many situations where you may be required to leave your vehicle before your car is towed. In such situations, the majority of the people do not know whether or not it is okay to not be present before help arrives and their car is towed.
Is it important to be in your vehicle before your car is towed?
Yes, this is a question that many ask when they’re stuck in their vehicle. Many people perceive time to be highly valuable and these are the people that will not feel comfortable staying in their vehicle before the car is towed. Tow cars can take anywhere between 30 minutes to a couple of hours with many people complaining that they’ve waited hours for their tow to arrive. Time spent waiting before your car is towed also depends on the time of the year. During Christmas days, expect to wait longer than usual as during the holiday season things can get really busy.
In certain situations, when you can’t afford to be in your vehicle before your car is towed, be it to feel safe during the night or simply to reach your destination on time, you need to exit your vehicle and leave it on the side of the road for help to arrive. There is nothing wrong with leaving your vehicle on the side of the road as long as it doesn’t cause harm to anyone. However, before your car is towed, and before you head out leaving your vehicle behind, you need to take some precautionary steps to ensure the safety of your vehicle.
Things to do when you plan on leaving your vehicle behind before your car is towed
There are certain steps that you should be taking if you’re planning to leave your vehicle on the side of the road before your car is towed away safely.
Inform the police
Before you leave your vehicle, you need to know that parking your car or abandoning it on the side of the road for more than 24 hours can have your vehicle impounded. In some states, the law will allow you to park a vehicle (unmanned) on the roadside for at least 48 hours before the state impounds it. The time it takes before your car is impounded depends on the situation. So, for example, if your vehicle is obstructing traffic or causing citizens harm, then expect your vehicle to be impounded even before the 24 hours allotted by law.
If you’re planning to ditch your vehicle before the car is towed, then calling up the local police station or the sheriff’s department is the best thing to do. This can work as insurance for you. Notifying the police will alert active units who will ensure that your vehicle is safe and not causing any harm to the citizens. The best thing is that if your vehicle is vandalized and you’ve informed the local authorities, then you can claim damages as you passed on the responsibility to safeguard your vehicle to the authorities
Get in touch with your insurance company
The next step is to approach your insurance company as they might create hurdles for you if your vehicle is damaged while you’ve left it abandoned. Letting your insurance company know will work in your favor as well because once you’ve contacted them and informed them about the situation, they will ask you for the tow company’s contact details. While you’re away, it’s in their best interest to keep your vehicle safe. Hence, they will get in touch with the tow company until the tow car reaches the destination.
Inspect your vehicle before your car is towed
This isn’t something that you read in a responsibility 101 crash course but you need to inspect your vehicle for valuables before your car is towed. Many people take it lightly but human nature is a very sensitive thing. There are people in this world who will rob and steal your valuables to make a quick buck. Until and unless these things happen to you, you’ll never think of such things as we humans tend to trust each other easily. Hence, take it from us and never leave your vehicle unattended with valuables in it. Always, do a quick inspection before you’re ready to leave your vehicle behind.
Leave the hazard lights on
If you’ve made up your mind to leave your vehicle behind before your car is towed then ensure that you leave signs so that the tow company knows that it’s this vehicle that needs help. Leave signs like leaving your hazard light on or hang a high visibility jacket or bright color cloth on your vehicle. You can even let the car hood up so that passing vehicles know that your car is abandoned and waiting for help. This can help other drivers to avoid hitting your car if your vehicle is not properly parked on the roadside.
Ring the towing company
This goes without saying but you need to inform the towing company that you are leaving the car behind for whatever reason it may be. Let the company know that they should ring you when the tow car reaches the spot where your vehicle is parked. Ask them how long it’ll take them to bring the car to you or the destination you want it to be towed at.
What to do if your vehicle is impounded?
As mentioned before, state laws will apply to your vehicle and get it impounded if your vehicle is abandoned for more than 24 hours or 48 depending on the state you’re in. If you haven’t informed the relevant authorities about leaving your vehicle behind, your vehicle might get impounded. So, what to do if your vehicle is impounded?
Find your car
If you haven’t notified the relevant authorities then you may not have the right information as to where your vehicle has been taken. In such cases, look for signs around the area that might indicate where impounded vehicles end up. No luck finding the signs to where your vehicle could be taken? Call up the city office and ask the responsible person to check their records for your vehicle. For this, you need to have your vehicle registration number at hand. If they’ve impounded the vehicle, then they will have a record of it and will guide you accordingly as to where you may find your vehicle. If your vehicle is not in the records, give it some time as it will end up on the books or system eventually. The entry of your vehicle might be delayed due to towing to the lot for impound.
Even after you’ve given the city office enough time to update their records and your vehicle is still not there then it’s time that you started considering the thought that your vehicle may have been stolen. In such cases, head to the local police and explain your situation to them. They will be more than glad to assist you in locating and retrieving your vehicle if it was stolen.
Ring the lot up
Now that you’ve located where the lot your vehicle is at, ring them up for some details. Before you head to the lot, you need to fill some forms or complete paperwork. Hence, it is important to get that done before you reach the lot otherwise it would take time to compile the paperwork. This is because the impound lot is very crowded most of the time with citizens lining up to retrieve their vehicles. You may have to wait a considerable amount of time depending on the rush at the lot. This is why it is wise to get all your paperwork done because if you don’t the hassle caused and time wasted itself can be a huge bummer for anyone. Paperwork can be your driver’s license, insurance details, and other relevant documentation depending on your local lot requirements.
Pay the relevant fees
If your vehicle has been impounded and you’ve successfully located the lot it is parked at, head over there. Be prepared to pay some fines. We can’t exactly guide you on how much fine you have to pay as it varies across states and even cities. However, do note the longer your vehicle sits at the impound, the higher the fines. These lots may charge impound fees by the day so make sure you head to the impound as soon as you can otherwise be prepared to pay some serious cash to release your vehicle.
Proof of insurance is important
Your proof of insurance is the main document that will help you release the vehicle from the impound lot. Your car insurance contains all the details of your vehicle such as the registration number, make, model, and more. Some states will allow the submission of documents including your proof of insurance electronically through fax. However, there might be lots that require physical copies instead of electronically. Therefore when you call up the place to inquire about the submission of documents.
In the case that you don’t have car insurance, you can not have your vehicle released. However, don’t worry. You can quickly apply for car insurance. There are so many online insurance companies that will gladly offer a quick quotation. In situations like these, vehicle owners panic and cause more financial loss to themselves by going with a company with a higher quote. We recommend staying calm and getting many different quotations before making up your mind about which insurance company to go with.
There are a lot of insurance companies on the market who will provide you instant quotes upon providing a few details about your vehicle. Collect at least three quotes before analyzing the details and selecting one that works best for you. Don’t forget to ask for discounts as insurance companies do provide discounts. It works in their favor to have as many customers paying a certain amount a month. So, they won’t turn you away if you were to ask for a discount. Since you’ll be using the insurance company for the next couple of years, try to get a good one that provides you the most benefits. There is no such insurance requirement to have your vehicle released. Minimum insurance is more than enough to have your vehicle released from the impound lot, however, do not just go for minimum insurance as you will be using this insurance for the next few years or until you sell your vehicle. You’re already facing impound fines of who knows how much hence it is always better to save money financially to compensate for these kinds of fines.
In conclusion, there might be many different situations that might force you to abandon your car if the tow truck is taking a while to get to your vehicle. You can leave your vehicle behind as there is no need for you to be present in your car, however, there are risks to leaving your vehicle behind hence follow the steps mentioned earlier to ensure that you do not face any financial losses.