Running out of gas is a hassle that happens more often than you may think. An empty tank is one of the most common reasons drivers in northern Colorado call our team at Northside Towing.

While your car has a handy gas gauge to let you know when you should fuel up, you may be stuck on a stretch of highway without gas stations nearby. Maybe your gas gauge isn’t working properly and suddenly you’re on “E.” It’s not uncommon to overestimate how far your car can go with low fuel, and sometimes you simply don’t notice you’re running low.

Whatever the reason you’re in this situation, knowing what to do when you run out of gas can help keep you safe and get you back on your way.


Ran Out of Gas on the Highway?

If you run out of gas on the highway, the first thing you should do is get to safety before your vehicle runs out of fuel entirely. When the “empty” light comes on in most cars, you still have about two gallons of gas, which can take you between 30 and 60 miles. In a Ford, the “empty” light means you have about one-sixteenth of your tank’s capacity left, so the distance you can go depends on the size of your tank.

Once the “empty” light comes on, find the nearest gas station and determine how far it is. If it’s open, go to that gas station. As you drive and your fuel supply declines, keep in mind that your car might:

  • Power down and lack enough pep to easily get up a hill when you accelerate.
  • Jerks and surges as you drive.
  • Hiccup and sputter from the engine.
  • Make a loud backfiring noise, similar to a firework, especially if your vehicle is older.

If you notice these signs, your car is running out of gas quickly. You should immediately take steps to get to safety, including:

  • Turning on your hazard lights and getting out of traffic: Move onto a flat surface on the right shoulder of the road if possible. Once you’re parked safely, keep your hazards on and engage your emergency brakes. If there is a slope, tilt your wheels away from the road so your car is safe from traffic, even if it rolls.
  • Calling for emergency help if you’ve stalled in the middle of traffic: If you’re on a highway and can’t get out of the road, it’s critical to avoid secondary accidents. Other drivers will not expect to see a car stopped in the middle of the road. Leave your hazard lights on to increase your visibility, get to safety and call for emergency help. Trying to push your car to safety is risky because exiting your vehicle is dangerous and you could cause yourself an injury.
  • Determining where you are: Try to get a GPS reading from your phone or take note of the highway numbers, road signs and any landmarks. Whether you seek gas yourself or call for help, you’ll need to know how to find your car or direct someone to it.
  • Arranging for roadside help: If your car or insurance has roadside assistance, you can call that service to bring you gas. Friends and family may be able to bring you fuel in jerrycan if you don’t have roadside service. While movie characters often hike to the nearest gas station, keep in mind that walking along an unfamiliar road or highway may not be safe. You could get lost or exhaust yourself and become ill without adequate food and water. Calling a tow truck is a much safer choice.


What to Do When You Run Out of Gas

If you run out of gas in northern Colorado, can’t get to a gas station and don’t have anyone in the area you can call, contact Northside Towing for prompt, courteous help. One of our drivers will bring you gas to get you back on your way. Our family-owned and operated business has a fleet of tow trucks and a team of drivers so that we can reach you quickly. We’ll tell you the cost of the service over the phone, so there are no surprises.


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