Driving on empty or running out of gas are not great for your vehicle. It can damage the engine and have other negative long-term effects. It is best if you make sure to always have fuel in your gas tank. However, sometimes things do happen that you may not be able to control. Due to this, it is good to know how to respond if your car runs out of gas.

How-to: Respond if Your Car Runs Out of Gas: Driving Safety

Immediate Reactions

If you know your tank is almost empty and that you are almost out of fuel, ideally you would want to head to the nearest gas station. However, in some places, this is not possible. If you know you are driving on fumes, go ahead and pull over when it is safe to do so. This may mean that you have to pull over to the shoulder of the road. If your car runs out of gas while you are still driving, you may stop in the middle of the road. In this case, stay in your car while getting help. Make sure to turn your hazard lights on, put your car in park and use your e-brake.

Getting Help

Depending on your location, it may be safer to wait for help than to get out and walk to a gas station. If you have a roadside assistance service like AAA or one provided through your vehicle manufacturer or insurance, you can call them for help. They should be able to come to your vehicle and provide assistance within a short period of time.

If you do end up deciding to walk to the nearest gas station, there are plenty of phone apps that can help you easily locate one. For example, check Google Maps or Gas Buddy for nearby pump locations. Make sure to call a friend or family member to let them know your plans.


It is best to not get to the point where your car runs out of gas. However, it is always smart to be prepared just in case. Keep a small gasoline container with you in your vehicle. That way, you can carry it with you when you walk to the gas station. However, do not try and fill up a plastic bottle or anything not meant to carry gasoline. Some gas stations sell gasoline containers, so you can buy one there if you do not already have one. Also, make sure to have your phone charged while you are on the road. That way, you are able to use it to get help if you run out of gas.