Imagine being stranded on the side of the road. You’ve probably been there before. It sucks. How are you going to get your car off the side of the road? Tire blowout? Simple enough to repair, but those cars whizzing by at 80 miles per hour as your blowout is on the driver’s side of the car.
A lot of times, help can be at your fingertips. The Road Rangers are a valuable asset to the State of Florida, and often can help you out with a simple repair.
Fact Number 1
Road Ranger services are free of charge along interstate highways and expressways.
The Road Rangers’ mission is to provide assistance to motorists. In addition, they also provide a visible presence for other motorists, making such repairs more safe for stranded drivers and the Road Ranger crew themselves.
Fact Number 2
Approximately 5 million assists have been made since the Road Rangers’ inception in 2000.
A growing number of vehicles in the Road Ranger fleet have been added, continuing to grow. This number is expected to go up exponentially over the coming years.
Fact Number 3
The number for Road Ranger assistance is *347 (or *FHP).
This is the main number for the Florida Highway Patrol, who will contact the Road Ranger contractor for that district to render assistance.
Road Ranger hours and availability vary throughout the state. Some areas offer 24-hour, 365-day-per-year service.
Fact Number 4
Road Ranger areas are limited to Interstates, the Florida Turnpike, and select expressways in urban areas.
For now, Road Ranger assistance is not available on US highways, state roads, or other secondary roads.
Fact Number 5
The Road Ranger program is divided into seven separate districts.
The Florida Turnpike is its own district, travelling through but separate from some of the seven districts.
Fact Number 6
When a repair or crash exceeds the services the Road Rangers can offer, Road Rangers can push the vehicle to the nearest safe spot. At that point, the Florida Highway Patrol will contact a towing or repair service.
All services are at the owner’s expense once a third party tow or repair service is contacted.
Fact Number 7
State Farm Insurance is the primary sponsor for the Road Ranger program.
State Farm Insurance began its sponsorship in 2004 with its contract set to expire in June of 2018.
This extra source of funds has allowed for additional trucks as well as an upgrade in the reflective equipment on the trucks, allowing for greater visibility at night.
Fact Number 8
To assist stranded motorists, Road Ranger carry along a set selection of resources.
- 2-ton jack
- Sand, for cleaning up fluid spills
- Air compressor, for flat tires
- Basic automotive fluids
- Jumper cables
- Cell phones. Motorists can make two local calls free of charge.
- Fire extinguishers
- First aid kit
- Flashing arrow board. This advises drivers to shift lanes.
- Public Address System. This allows Rangers to communicate to other drivers in getting to a stranded vehicle
- Water for radiators
- Traffic cones
- Wood blocks. These help in getting vehicles out of muddy or sandy surfaces.
- Tools, such as wrenches, screwdrivers, and sockets. Some drivers have impact wrenches, powered by compressed air, that can ease removal of wheel nuts for changing a tire.
The list is a minimum supply, as some drivers carry additional resourses, such as drinking water.
Fact Number 9
During operating hours, Road Rangers normally arrive at a stranded motorist between 15-30 minutes of the Florida Highway Patrol’s *347 hotline being notified.
In some cases, a phone call is not necessary. Traffic spotters can see disabled vehicles in visible locations and will automatically summon a Road Ranger to provide assistance. With good timing, a Road Ranger can show up in just a few minutes.
Fact Number 10
As the Road Ranger program continues to grow, some counties do not have Road Ranger service available.
Among the counties that yet to have Ranger service are Sumter and Marion counties along Interstate 75. This is due to funding varying from district-to-district and whether a sponsor can be found to help with funds.