Home Travel How To Find Free Roadside Assistance In Most States

How To Find Free Roadside Assistance In Most States

by SharonKurheg

When you’re on a road trip, the last thing you want is for something to happen to your car. Unfortunately, that very thing happened to Joe and me (click here for all the gory details) while we were on our way home from a cabin in Georgia that we stayed in for a few days. From my Facebook during the summer of 2020:

Know what sucks? Running out of gas on I-75.

Know what doesn’t suck? State traffic emergency guys who pull up, out of the blue, with a gallon of gas.

Joe’s blaming me (not really) cuz he was waiting to get gas at the Stuckey’s (Stuckey’s is a huge nostalgia thing for me)…which was the exit coming up in 3/4 mile before we ran out of gas on I-75.

Anyway, the guy was very nice and significantly cheaper than what AAA would have cost, had the AAA lady not put me on hold for so long.

The Stuckey’s was nice.

(Ignore the car hair, please and thank-you. We had been in the rain earlier in the day and had already been on the road for hours…)

We won’t go into the whole “Joe ran out of gas” story because we’ve ALL done it at one time or another (my time was when I was in college, on the Goethals Bridge, which is one of the three bridges that connects New Jersey with Staten Island, NY. It had 2 lanes in each direction. Good times.).

But anyway, we have AAA and we called to get assistance. While I was on hold with the AAA lady, a HERO (Highway Emergency Response Operator) pulled up behind us. Joe explained the situation, the guy gave us a gallon of gas and poof, our problem was solved. For free, no less.

But it brought up a very interesting situation – there are indeed roadside assistance apps out there. And although you can always get roadside assistance from places like AAA, your car manufacturer, auto insurance or possibly even a credit card you have, you may or may not know that most states have emergency highway response systems set up. They’re run by the respective states’ Department of Traffic (DOT) and are available to help motorists who are stranded on the side of the highway with simple stuff – a flat tire, they ran out of gas, etc. Their services are free and they’re available because stopped cars cause rubberneckers to look at those who are stuck (plus there are potentially dangerous situations for those who are the “stuckees” – you see what I did there?), which slows traffic. Helping those in need helps speed up traffic, and get motorists safely on their way.

But even if you know to look, try to find the number for the highway emergency people when you’re in another state, nowhere near home, you’re upset cuz your car is dead on a highway, and you need the number NOW (because it’s 90 degrees and humid and of course your car didn’t stop in the shade)! Because you’d think they all use the same number, right? Nope! I mean, for Florida, you have to dial *FHP (Florida Highway Patrol) to get them. For Georgia, had I known they had a system set up, I’d have to know to call 511. Meanwhile, Kansas’s number is *KTA, a whole slew of states tell you to use 911 (some don’t, in an attempt to keep 911’s operators limited to emergencies), and one state doesn’t give you a number…they just say they’ll find you (that’s so comforting, isn’t it?).

So just in case you ever need it, here are the links and phone numbers of state-sponsored emergency highway assistance for the 37 states that I could find that has such a service (if you know of such a service for any of the 13 other states [and Washington D.C.] and my Google-fu was off, please send me info/URL so I can update. Thanks!).

Heads up that days and times of availability vary from state to state, as does which highways are and are not covered. In fact, although one or two have service in the middle of the night, most don’t, and some don’t even offer weekend service. Anyway, days/times are usually in the respective links.

  • Alabama – Dial (334) 832-1784 (you may also be able to dial *HP (*47) to get a State Trooper)
  • Alaska – No such service found
  • Arizona – Dial (877) 800-8520
  • Arkansas – No such service found
  • California – Dial 511
  • Colorado – Dial (303) 239-4501 to reach Colorado State Patrol
  • Connecticut – Dial 911
  • Delaware- No such service found
  • Florida – Dial *FHP (*347)
  • Georgia – Dial 511
  • Hawaii – Dial 841-HELP (841-4357)
  • Idaho – No such service found
  • Illinois – Dial *999
  • Indiana – Dial 855-INDOT4U (855-463-6848)
  • Iowa – Dial 911
  • Kansas – Dial *KTA (*582)
  • Kentucky – Dial #SAFE or 1-877-FOR-KYTC (as of this writing, the link to that KY gov’t page has a 401 error)
  • Louisiana – Dial 911
  • Maine – Dial #999 or (207) 871-7701
  • Maryland – Dial 410-582-5650 (If you’re on a state-owned primary roadway in MD [e.g., I-495, I-270, I-695, US 50, MD 295] then Dial #77)
  • Massachusetts – Dial 911
  • Michigan – No number to call. They monitor cameras, law enforcement is on the lookout, and FCP drivers make regular patrols
  • Minnesota – Dial 911
  • Mississippi – No such service found
  • Missouri – Dial *55
  • Montana – No such service found
  • Nebraska – Dial *55 or (800) 525-5555
  • Nevada – Dial *NHP (*647)
  • New Hampshire – Dial #999
  • New Jersey – Dial 911
  • New Mexico – Dial (505) 934-0354
  • New York – Dial 911
  • North Carolina – Dial 51
  • North Dakota – No such service found
  • Ohio – Dial #677 or 911
  • Oklahoma – No such service found
  • Oregon – Dial 503-283-5859 in Portland metro area & 503-362-0457 in the Salem and Eugene areas
  • Pennsylvania – Dial 911
  • Rhode Island – No such service found
  • South Carolina – Dial *HP (*47)
  • South Dakota – No such service found
  • Tennessee – Dial *THP (*847)
  • Texas – Dial (512) 974-HERO (Austin area)
  • Utah – Dial 801-887-3710
  • Vermont – No such service found
  • Virginia – #77
  • West Virginia – Dial *SP (*77)
  • Washington – No such service found
  • Washington D.C. – No such service found
  • Wisconsin – Dial 911
  • Wyoming – No such service found

Safe travels!

Feature Photo: pikrepo

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derek August 27, 2020 - 1:46 pm

The article says Michigan has no number but they monitor cameras. No joke, they do. I stopped by the roadside between Metro Airport and Detroit. Within minutes, I could see the state highway patrol car’s flashing lights come to me. They were watching!

TEXAS – See website warning https://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/public_information/strandedmotoristhotline.htm

Despite what some e-mails say, motorists who call the toll-free number are not provided a free yearly tow or a free voucher for fuel. …Tow trucks are not dispatched by the DPS or the Texas Highway Patrol at the state’s expense. Hotline operators will refer callers who need a tow to the appropriate local law enforcement agency, provide the caller with a number for the law enforcement agency or courtesy patrol, or send assistance to check on the motorist’s safety and welfare until other help arrives. If a tow truck or other non-towing service is dispatched, the motorist is ultimately responsible for any costs incurred.

Texas Highway Patrol troopers are not certified repair technicians and are not equipped with proper tools to repair vehicles on the roadside. For safety reasons, Highway Patrol troopers cannot provide mechanical repair and towing services or carry extra fuel for motorists.

SharonKurheg August 30, 2020 - 9:37 am

Thanks, Derek. I’ve updated the blurb for Texas accordingly 😉

Pam August 27, 2020 - 2:21 pm

Awesome info, esp with so many taking road trips, thanks!

Margaret August 27, 2020 - 6:54 pm

Great information thank you!

Kenneth Bush March 22, 2022 - 10:30 pm

The state-operated services typically operate in large metropolitan areas only. I have to buy roadside assistance with an extended range because there are often no repair places for 50 or more miles around where I live. Chicago, yes. Lexington, Michigan, no.


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