5 Things to Do When Your Car Runs Out of Gas

a car instrument cluster showing empty fuel gauge

Certain travels are not planned ahead of time. These urgent, emergency, or impromptu trips can sometimes leave you unprepared, and checking for gas is no exception. When your mind is too occupied, you may not notice that your car is running out of gas. Therefore, it’s necessary to think carefully about the steps to follow when the situation arises. 

So, what to do when you run out of gas? As a driver, you must prioritize your protection above all. Also, know your current location so that you can seek roadside assistance right away. Let’s discuss more about the topic below. 

How Does Your Car Act When You Run Out of Gas?

When you run out of gas on the highway, certain signals will notify you of the situation. Aside from the fuel gauge being empty, the first warning would be no engine power. This happens when you start to step on the gas pedal and the car does not speed up. 

The next thing you’ll notice is the engine starts jerking all of a sudden. This is probably because there’s no more gas in your car. This would then be followed by an engine surge, where it stops then suddenly moves forward, and there’s jerking at the back of the wheel. Lastly, you’ll hear a backfire sound from the tailpipe, giving the final sign of an empty gas.

5 Things To Do When Your Car Runs Out of Gas

When you finally figure out that your car runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere, based on the above-mentioned warning signs, it is necessary to follow these steps. 

1. Park Your Vehicle to a Safe Place

As you start to notice that the fuel gauge shows empty gas, drive towards the right side of the road and slowly park your vehicle to a safe place on the roadside. This is necessary to avoid being the cause of traffic and any possible troubles that might occur. 

If for instance, you are unable to park the car to the roadside, get out of the car and stay somewhere safe away from the highway. 

2. Turn On Your Hazard Lights

This is a warning signal to all road passers that your car is currently in need of any type of roadside assistance and that includes the problem of empty gas. So as soon as you place your car in a safe place, start switching the hazard lights on until the roadside help comes to your rescue.

3. Identify Your Current Location

To call for immediate assistance, you must know your exact current location. Look for street names, any landmarks, and your desired destination to easily track the place where you might be stuck. These pieces of information are important to fast-track the roadside assistance you need. You can also use a Global Positioning System or GPS network instead.

4. Call For Help

There are many ways to call for help and many options to call to but who to call when you run out of gas? Start calling your family and friends to stop them from worrying, especially when you are off to meet them in the first place. They can also be of help to get you the assistance you need. 

For more immediate help, you may opt to call Neighborhood Roadside Assistance and have them deliver fuel to your location right away. As soon as you notify them, you just need to wait 15-35 minutes and they will supply enough gas to your vehicle.

5. Look For Near Gas Stations

If for some reason you are unable to reach out for help, try looking for the nearest gas stations. Then you may start walking towards that gas station for a gas refill. Keep track of what direction you are heading to avoid getting lost along the way. When crossing a road, look on both sides first to prevent accidents. 

Remember, DO NOT pursue walking if it’s too dark and there are no street lights, if it’s raining heavily, or if the place is just not safe at all. 

Tips to Prevent Your Car From Running Out of Gas

If you forgot to gas up and you notice you’re running low on fuel, here are some tips to stretch what’s left in your tank until you can find the nearest gas station:

  • Pullover and search for the nearest gas station (use GPS)
  • Slow down and drive at around 35-45 mph
  • Turn of the air conditioner
  • Roll up your windows
  • Accelerate steadily to sustain fuel
  • Prefer driving downhill
  • Inspect your tires’ right inflation once a month
  • Ensure a clean air filter engine
  • If the check engine light is on, pay a visit to an auto repair shop
  • Always keep an eye on the fuel economy
  • Avoid keeping unimportant, heavy items inside the vehicle


Running out of gas in the middle of the road can be avoided. When going somewhere it is best to plan ahead of time. Such a plan should include dropping by a gas station. Regularly check your fuel gauge.

In case you forgot to check and ran out of gas while driving, pull your car off to the right side and turn on your hazard lights as a cue to all passersby. Then contact your family and friends to inform them of your condition. Know your location so you could be tracked easily or go to the nearest gas station if there’s one. 

There are only two options to refill a car that runs out of gas: Either you call for help or you try to help yourself. It all depends on which option is faster and more convenient for your situation.