I Ran Out of Gas on the Highway – The Maryland Guide to Getting Back on the Road

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    Everyone has been there. Millions of people have run out of gas on the highway and felt the panic and frustration of being stranded. It could happen today or tomorrow to any of Maryland’s two million-plus automobiles anywhere on the Free State’s 71,129 (and counting) miles of road.

    You could wait for the kindness of strangers. You might wander off in search of the nearest gas station. Neither feels like a comforting solution when you’re in the middle of nowhere or stuck on the side of a busy highway.

    This is the perfect time to whip out that plan you have prepared to get emergency gas when you need it. Wait – you don’t have one of those? 

    You do now! Read this professional guide on the dos and don’ts of preventing or resolving a dry gas tank, and you’ll be safely back on the road before you know it.

    Situations That Can See You Running Out of Gas

    Running out of gas is probably the easiest to see coming of all the things that can leave a driver stranded. Your dashboard will be a big help here, assuming, of course, you’re paying attention.

    You should also take a close look at your other driving habits while you’re at it; you may find you do things that can increase your chances of a gas shortage. Avoid these temptations and oversights, and you’re more likely to keep that tank topped up:

    -Coasting on Fumes to Save Money

    This can be a bad habit for many drivers regardless of the economy. It’s more common now that the cost of a gallon has surged over the last year or so. 

    Higher prices tend to make people run that red “E” as they try to squeeze every last mile out of their fuel dollars. Maryland was one of the few states to try and ease that burden last year by pausing the gas tax, so at least that’s something!

    -Relying Too Heavily on Electric Power

    Maryland is one of the nation’s leading states for electric vehicle (EV) ownership and adoption. More than 60,000 have been registered, and Governor Moore is committed to some aggressive goals for EV sales. 

    Drivers of EV hybrids can and do forget to keep their gas tank topped up as a contingency against their battery running low. This could require an EV tow which has its own set of requirements.

    -Not Making the Most of the Fuel You’ve Got

    Keeping your gas tank topped off is only half the battle. Learning how to optimize your fuel expenditure is the other. Avoiding traffic is an excellent way to do this – which is easier said than done, but it can cut the kind of gas-guzzling caused by idling.

    Combining trips is another good way to get the most out of your fuel budget. It also helps to make drivers less fearful of their next bill at the pumps. Here are more ways to get better gas mileage to reduce your chances of running dry.

    Even respecting the road’s best practices won’t always protect you from something as common as running out of gas. Whatever mistake or oversight brings you to that point doesn’t have to be compounded. 

    You can avoid undue stress when you have an emergency plan that will get you the gas you need, keep you safer, and hopefully save you some money.

    You Ran Out of Gas on the Highway – Now What?

    The first thing to do is stay calm. Getting upset or angry won’t help you make a clear-headed decision to solve the problem.

    You’re likely to get yourself into more trouble unless you can gauge if a dry gas tank is your only concern or if running dry has created new risks. Most of all, it’s important to remember that you have multiple options to get out of this particular jam, so stay positive!

    1. Follow Safety Procedures

    Running out of gas can cause an accident or be an accident waiting to happen. Assessing the situation for actual and potential risks is essential. Move your vehicle out of travel lanes if possible, and turn on your hazard lights.

    Sometimes it’s safer to stay inside your car while you wait for gas to arrive, and sometimes it isn’t. It all depends on the situation. Here’s some more advice to consider.

    2. Grab Your Trusty Onboard Gas Can

    Having emergency gas in the trunk is an excellent idea for every Maryland driver because you don’t have to wait for help to arrive. Keeping an approved portable gas can onboard is the right way to do it since not just any old container will do.

    Approved designs help to avoid spills and leaks, which can be extremely dangerous while filling and pouring. Here are some solid recommendations for 2023.

    3. Call Friends or Family

    Getting a top-off could be as simple as calling someone in your personal circle and asking them to drop by with a few gallons. This should limit the expense solely to the price of the gas you need.

    You may also cover the other person’s gas outlay if you’re nice. Just don’t expect to be too popular if friends or family have to bail you out late at night or in the middle of some bad Maryland weather!

    4. Call a Roadside Assistance Team

    Needing emergency fuel is classified as roadside assistance since it’s a low labor and relatively inexpensive fix. Only choose companies who are licensed and insured and who have a good reputation.

    Take the extra time to study their website and ask about their insurance and licenses before using them.

    5. Call the MDOT SHA CHART ERTs

    That’s quite a collection of acronyms, right? It all stands for (big breath): the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration Coordinated Highways Action Response Team Emergency Response Technicians. It’s a very long set of titles you’ll be glad exists next time your tank starts straining.

    “I don’t have to say all that over the phone, do I?” No, you don’t. Just dial #77 if you’ve run out of gas on any of Maryland’s state-owned primary roadways.

    This will secure you “approximately one gallon” of gas from the MDOT SHA CH… well, you get the picture. A gallon isn’t much, so factor that into your next move after the acronym team leaves.

    6. Contact Law Enforcement

    This is a last resort because the police are extremely busy dealing with serious matters elsewhere. That’s not to say it isn’t serious if you ran out of gas on the highway; it’s just common sense to request police assistance only when you’re out of other options. 

    You can move this tip up the list if your car is blocking traffic or you feel you’re at risk of an accident or physical harm from running out of gas in a dangerous area. Dialing #77 will connect you directly to the police if you’re close to a Maryland Transportation Authority facility. You can dial 911 if you feel running out of gas has created an emergency. 

    It’s best to use the non-emergency dispatch number for your county if you or others aren’t in significant danger as you wait for the emergency gas. Contact the local police to get their non-emergency contact and keep that number on file.

    It’s ultimately a good idea to cultivate a “big picture” mindset. The rapid rise of EVs and EV charging stations are a sign that the number of gas-powered vehicles you’ll see on the road is slowly starting to lessen.

    This means that the number of gas stations you’ll see around Maryland in the future may start to diminish. This may take a long time to happen, but developing good gas habits now will help make your vehicle future-proof!

    Contact the Geyers Team When You Run Out of Gas

    We’re devoted to delivering the highest standard of roadside assistance, towing, and recovery throughout Maryland.

    We bring decades of experience and a trained and licensed team straight to your side whenever you run out of gas. We’re even happy to do the pouring so you don’t have to get your hands dirty before getting back on the road.

    We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can get the gas you need without taking unnecessary risks like blocking traffic – or having your mom be mad at you for two weeks because you called her at 1 am! 

    Just call us instead at (301) 298-8519 any time to have one of our trained and friendly staff come to your location, or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch!

    5 FAQs If You Ran Out of Gas on the Highway in Maryland

    If you run out of gas on the highway in Maryland, it is important to safely pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.

    It is generally not recommended to walk to the nearest gas station if you run out of gas on the highway. It is safer to stay with your vehicle and call for professional assistance.

    The response time may vary depending on the service provider and the current traffic conditions. It is best to inquire about the estimated arrival time when contacting the roadside assistance or towing company.

    To prevent running out of gas on the highway, it is important to regularly monitor your fuel gauge and plan your trips accordingly. Keep an eye on the distance to the next gas station and refill the tank before it gets too low.

    Running out of gas on the highway itself does not carry penalties, but if your vehicle obstructs traffic, you may be subject to fines or penalties for impeding the flow of traffic.

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