Do you know who to call if you’re stuck on the side of the road? Here’s some help

KPRC 2 Investigates shares why it’s important to know exactly who to call if you’re ever stuck on the side of the road.

HOUSTON – You can’t always anticipate when you might have car trouble and being stuck on the side of the road is not just annoying-- it can be dangerous. KPRC 2 Investigates why you might want to be careful about who you call when minutes really do matter.

Trying to find help when stranded in your car

Maybe you’ve run out of gas or have a flat tire. It’s never a good time to be stranded in Houston. Sometimes Googling for help may not get you in touch with the right people.

“I get in the car after work and it gives me the alert that I need gas,” said Erica Young.

Ready to get home from a busy day at work at KPRC 2, producer Erica Young knew she needed gas but she thought she could make it to her driveway.

“Literally, got maybe two miles from my house and it just died,” she explains.

It could happen to any of us, right? Young had to think quickly.

“I just googled roadside assistance near me and a site came up. I clicked on it and filled out the thing it gave me and I had to put my phone number in it. So it texted me and said it’s gonna be 60 to 90 minutes.”

Realizing she couldn’t wait that long, Young called the Pop-a-Lock number and texted her to cancel.

Roadside assistance warning. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

“They said, ‘Yeah, no problem,’ and I asked, ‘Will I be charged?’ and they said ‘no,’” said Young.

Someone she knew brought her gas. A few days later, she got a $169 charge on her card labeled “Driver Roadside.” She called Pop-a-Lock back.

“She said that they don’t have anything to do with the charging.”

Third-party service connects customers with service companies

Young needed to contact the company Driver Roadside. This website connects people with various types of car service companies. (It’s the company that came up in the first Google search.) But it’s been impossible to reach anyone with the company.

“That’s where the real struggle was. I couldn’t find a phone number for them,” Young said.

“If I could do it over again. I would either call Pop-a-Lock directly or I could call my insurance. Definitely wouldn’t just Google and go with whatever I find in a Google search,” said Young.

It is helpful to have your insurance information handy if your coverage includes roadside assistance. Also, certain cellphone companies and credit cards have roadside help as an added feature.

And in Houston, the Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go program will take your vehicle off the freeway to a safe location for free. Just click on the “tow truck” symbol on the Houston Transtar app.

KPRC 2 Investigates has a warning about who you call when you need roadside assistance. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

After we started asking questions, Young did get her money back from the Driver Roadside website but they did not respond to our questions about their service. The moral of the story here: Make sure you know where you are entering your information and have roadside help info handy just in case you need it.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.