SAN ANTONIO — If you've ever run out of gas or had a flat tire on the highway, you know how important it is to get help fast.
There's now free roadside assistance in the greater San Antonio area through the Texas Department of Transportation's new patrol service Highway Emergency Response Operator program, called the HERO program for short.
The two main goals are to clear minor crashes from area roadways and to assist motorists in need to keep everyone safe.
According to transportation experts, about 20% of all traffic incidents are "secondary incidents." By removing stranded motorists from the roadway and providing motorists warning of stopped vehicles ahead, the number of these crashes can be reduced.
Here's the number to save in your phone's contacts if you need to request assistance or report a traffic problem: (210) 732-HERO (4376).
According to TxDOT, the HERO program helps to:
- Relocate disabled vehicles to safety
- Remove minor crashes from the roadway
- Provide traffic and lane control at crash scenes
- Remove debris from travel lanes
- Assist first responders at crash scenes
The HEROs also:
- Change flat tires
- Give air to low tires
- Add gasoline and water
- Perform minor vehicle repairs
- Jump-start batteries
- Provide drinking water and cell phone services to stranded motorists
In total, the HERO program will provide service to people along 239 miles of highway in the greater San Antonio area.
HERO service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's broken down as:
- Full service: Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Limited service: Monday through Friday, 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 24 hours a day.
The $4.5 million program is funded through TxDOT, Bexar County, the city of San Antonio and the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Serco, Inc. manages and operates it.