A record-breaking number of people are expected to travel for the Fourth of July this year.  Triple-A predicts nearly 71 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period, which runs June 29th through July 7th.  That's up five-percent from last year.  Over 60 million people are expected to travel by car -- nearly three million more than last year.  Airports could see a record-breaking number of travelers as well, with around five-point-75-million people predicted to fly.

But what happens if you find yourself stuck on the side of the road due to unforeseen issues? Well, I got a story that will help save your ass if you breakdown on the thruway. Should you find yourself broken down on the NYS Thruway while traveling for the 4th of July holiday, you're going to want to have this information saved.

My Car Broke Down on the I-87

I was visiting my friend for his birthday this weekend up in Albany. On my way back home Saturday morning, I got onto I-87. I was hardly outside of the city when a message popped up on my screen that read, "Engine Power Reduced." All of a sudden, my Check Engine Light started blinking, and I went from 65 mph to 30 mph.

Thank goodness that there were signs for a Text Stop just a mile ahead of me, so I stayed on the shoulder, put my blinkers on, and "limped" to the Text Stop.

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Once I was there, I was calling my parents asking for advice. They were calling shops in and around Poughkeepsie while I was calling shops in the Albany area. Most places we called were either closed or couldn't take me in. Alright, I'm thinking, that's great, but how am I going to get home?

After several phone calls that spanned about 45 minutes, someone recommended to me that I call the Thruway Department for immediate help. It sounds so simple, but I sure didn't think of that. Neither did my folks or any of the other auto body shops or dealerships.

Emergency and Roadside Assistance from the NYS Thruway Authority

You would think that being on the thruway might prompt someone to readily think of the Thruway Authority, but it certainly wasn't the first thing that came to my mind.

Canva, IPGGUTENBERGUKLtf from Getty Images
Canva, IPGGUTENBERGUKLtf from Getty Images

According to the Thruway Authority website, the Thruway has continuously been recognized as one of the safest superhighways in the nation. The fatality rate along the Thruway remains significantly below the national average as calculated by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What to Do with a Disabled Vehicle on the Thruway

The Thruway Authority urges disabled vehicles to not stop in the travel lanes. They say to move well off the roadway if possible. Exits, text stops, rest stops and other safe locations are highly recommended. Tie a white cloth to the left door handle or radio antennae and wait for help to arrive. For your own safety, stay with your vehicle.

What to Do in the Case of an Accident or Breakdown on the NYS Thruway

Canva, @enrykun
Canva, @enrykun

According to the NYS Thruway Authority website, they say in the event of an accident or breakdown:

  • Do not stop in the travel lanes. If possible, move well off the roadway or to the next exit, or nearest safe location.
  • New York State law permits motorists to move vehicles to a safe spot following an accident.
  • Activate emergency flashers.
  • Place flares or reflectors on the shoulder to alert oncoming motorists of your situation.
  • Do not walk along the Thruway.
  • Stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
  • If you make your own repairs, keep yourself, tools and parts well off the travel lane.

What to Do When Major Repairs are Needed for Your Vehicle While on the NYS Thruway

Only authorized Thruway garages are allowed to service disabled vehicles on the Thruway for minor repairs (tire changes, battery boosts, supplying fuel, and similar issues).

Authorized off-Thruway garages handle towing and major repairs that cannot be done along the Thruway. The garages also provide both roadside and major repairs on the Niagara, New England and Berkshire sections and I-287.

To contact a garage closest to you, call 1-800-842-2233.

Towing and Service Charges with the NYS Thruway Authority

Canva, romanbabakin
Canva, romanbabakin

A standard roadside service charge prevails 24 hours a day on the Thruway. Labor and materials are additional. These rates are comparable to off-Thruway rates.

Charges by authorized garages for towing are based on initial hook-up and subsequent miles towed and are competitive with off-Thruway prices.

For more information, please call 518-436-3079.

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