Isn’t it great to find something in your vehicle right when you need it? That radio station with just the right vibe. The one piece of candy you forgot was in the glove box. One of the best things to discover tucked away onboard is access to roadside assistance services.
The thing with this coverage is that it isn’t always obvious what type of assistance you’re covered for or what the service limits on them might be – nor are Maryland drivers always clear on how much they’ll be required to pay out of pocket when the roadside team shows up.
This guide will tell you where roadside assistance is available or if you already have assistance available. You’ll also learn what the small print in these arrangements means for you (and your wallet) the next time you’re in a fix.
Recognizing the Need for Roadside Assistance
Maryland has over 17,000 miles of non-toll roads, over 2,500 bridges, and almost 5,200 miles of interstate, primary, and secondary roads. The last thing the authorities want is to have those roads backed up by breakdowns or someone getting hurt due to vehicle problems. Maryland drivers can do their part to keep traffic flowing safely when they understand some of the basics of roadside assistance.
-Know What Roadside Assistance Is
Roadside services are generally on the minor end of the rescue scale. A flat tire. A dead car battery. Keys locked in the vehicle. People locked in the vehicle. Often these services are something drivers can perform themselves if they have the right tools on board and enough experience.
Roadside teams will come to the rescue if those two factors aren’t present; the professionals are often the best bet since performing any service at the roadside can be a risky business).
-Roadside Assistance Can Get More Complicated
Some situations may require a winch, a tow, or both. This requires specialized equipment. Needing a tow often means skipping other roadside services since the situation is serious enough to merit taking the vehicle elsewhere.
Here’s the complete list of differences between roadside services and towing to help you know which service you should ask for.
Now it’s time to look in all the right places to see if you’ve already got some roadside assistance you can use. That might mean checking your cell phone, calling your insurance company, or looking around for a bright yellow van or passing police officer. Roadside assistance may even be built into the vehicle you’re sitting in!
How Do I Know If I Have Roadside Assistance?
Let’s pop the suspense bubble: Yes, you always have some form of roadside assistance in Maryland. The real questions are where it will come from, what it can do for you, and how much it will cost. Let’s review these factors by looking at the possible options you may already have while spotlighting a few reasonably priced roadside assistance plans:
1. Try State-Provided Roadside Assistance
Marylanders can call (410) 582-5650 for emergency roadside assistance if they’re on a state-owned primary roadway or dial #77 when on the interstate to reach the nearest police barrack. Contacting the police is generally advisable only if you feel there’s a danger to yourself or others, in which case dialing 911 is the better option.
2. Get Help from State Troopers and Emergency Personnel
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and the State Highway Administration (SHA) operate emergency patrol vehicles. State troopers are easy to spot and will stop to check on disabled vehicles. SHA and MDTA can be recognized by uniformed drivers in yellow vans, which may have the State Farm Insurance and/or SHA logo (visible here under the search box).
3. Watch for the Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART)
Seeing the word “CHART” on the side of vehicles means they’re part of the Maryland traffic management program. CHART Emergency Response Technicians (CHART ERTs) can help stranded drivers with tire services, jump starts, approximately one gallon of gas, and radiator water. Here’s a guide to the CHART patrol’s coverage area.
4. Analyze Your Auto Insurance Policy
Most auto coverage will provide some level of roadside assistance within certain parameters. For example, the number of services you can expect might be limited, as may other factors like the distance you can be towed to a mechanic or the amount of gas you can receive.
Speak to your provider to discover the limitations of your current policy; you’ll probably be able to upgrade your roadside assistance protection for a fee.
5. Check with Your Credit Card Company
Several credit cards have you covered if you need a spare tire, jumpstart, or other roadside assistance. An example is Visa’s Roadside Dispatch program, a 24/7 service Visa holders can use as many times as they like. It’s also free in the sense that there’s no registration fee, but each service call costs $79.95.
Coverage offered through Visa and other credit cards will have service limitations and possibly additional fees under certain circumstances, so speak to your card provider to learn these limits.
6. Your Cell Phone Company Could Help
Today’s cell phone providers know the competition is tough, which is often reflected in some impressively generous plans to attract customers. Some of these arrangements may include limited roadside assistance. Those that don’t include it automatically have some very reasonable fees: $2.99 a month gets you coverage from AT&T, while Verizon offers a $4.99 per month package.
Vehicles with a T-Mobile SyncUp Drive device installed can make four service calls a year for services up to $100, with any remaining expenses beyond that left up to the vehicle owner. Are you a Maryland driver with a T-Mobile Magenta plan? You may be eligible for a free year of Basic or Classic AAA coverage!
7. Your Auto Manufacturer Might Have You Covered for a Set Period
You may have roadside assistance as part of owning your vehicle. An example is ToyotaCare – a no-cost plan that comes with every new Toyota and provides 24/7 roadside assistance for two years. Just check the small print of those little numbers beside each roadside service!
New Ford drivers have 24/7 roadside assistance for 60,000 miles or five years (whichever they reach first). Chevy drivers of all 2016 and later models don’t have to be under warranty to receive their Certified Service. Contact your manufacturer if you drive another brand to see what they might offer.
There are other resources available to drivers who are looking to add roadside assistance to their lives. Internet companies have been in this market for a while, so even if you get your cell phone from one company and your Internet service from another, you still have options.
You might also want to start reviewing the roadside assistance plans offered by other organizations if you don’t already have a plan in place. Here are ten of the best-ranked plans for 2023 with quick reviews and links to the providers’ sites.
Some Cautionary Advice About Roadside Assistance
Needing any kind of roadside assistance means you’ve been left vulnerable. This could mean you’re in danger from surrounding traffic, hazardous weather, or people out to exploit you. Keep the following in mind to stay safe and avoid unrealistic expectations:
- Not everyone who stops to help you should be trusted. Maryland road authorities recommend staying locked safely in your vehicle if possible and lowering your window just enough to ask anyone offering assistance for their official identification (police/state/professional).
- Relying solely on free state assistance has limitations. It’s a service open to millions of Maryland car owners, so it can quickly become swamped with calls and leave you waiting a long time for help.
- Maryland State Troopers will help stranded drivers, but the level of roadside assistance they can provide will be extremely limited. They are more likely to call a secondary party that will provide the service you need and keep you company while you wait for help to arrive.
A surefire way to get great roadside assistance in Maryland is to call an experienced and trustworthy company specializing in those services. You can recognize them easily – they’re the ones who are licensed and insured, have great reviews, and who will treat you well when you contact them for information or help.
Contact Geyers for 24/7 Year-Round Roadside Assistance
Our expert technicians can handle roadside assistance of any kind as well as towing and recovery of the heaviest vehicles in the most awkward situations. We’re always transparent about our processes and pricing, so you know what to expect and how much things will cost.
The Geyers team can be with you quickly if you’re stranded in Frederick, Germantown, Mount Airy, or other surrounding Maryland locations. Call (301) 298-8519 or visit our contact page for a friendly hand to get you back on the road!
Frequently Asked Questions: Roadside Assistance in Maryland
Roadside assistance in Maryland typically includes services such as towing, battery jump-starts, fuel delivery, tire changes, and lockout assistance.
To request roadside assistance in Maryland, you can contact a reputable towing and roadside assistance service provider in your area, such as Geyers Towing.
Some roadside assistance providers offer membership programs that provide additional benefits and discounts, but emergency roadside assistance services are generally available to anyone in need, regardless of membership.
The response time for roadside assistance in Maryland can vary depending on factors such as your location and the service provider. Reputable providers strive to arrive as quickly as possible, typically within 30 minutes to an hour.
Many roadside assistance providers in Maryland offer 24/7 emergency services, ensuring assistance is available at any time, day or night.