Emergencies happen while driving on the interstate. Maybe you suffer a flat tire, a smoking engine, or the steering wheel stops working. It’s not safe to keep driving, so you pull over.
You get out to inspect the issue, disheartened and frustrated. This isn’t how you pictured your day going. What can you do? Who can you call to help you get out of this situation fast?
Thankfully, the state of Georgia has quick and easy options to call for help if you’re experiencing car trouble and stranded on the side of a highway.
Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROs) are dispatched to handle traffic incidents on interstates and major freeways in Metro Atlanta. Their primary goal is to clear the roads to restore traffic flow.
Operators are also trained to assist stranded motorists, free of charge, with the following issues:
- Flat tires
- First aid
- Dead batteries
- Lack of fuel or coolant
- Minor mechanical repairs
- Moving stranded vehicles to the shoulder
- Transporting motorists to safe areas away from traffic
- Providing a cellphone to contact a towing service
The HEROs program patrols 382 miles of metro Atlanta, has 84 active operators, and has performed more than 88,000 assists.
Requesting HERO Assistance
If you are in Metro Atlanta, dial 511 from any phone. When prompted say "HERO" for motorist assistance or select "option 1".
HERO units are primarily responsible for incident management and clearing the roadway of dangerous debris. If there is a major traffic accident or severe weather, they may not be able to provide motorist assistance.
HEROs are not law enforcement officers; they are employed by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Because they are state employees, they cannot accept tips, but we’re certain they appreciate a “thank you.”
The Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance Program (CHAMP) prioritizes safety for travelers and first responders. CHAMP is a sister program to HERO, providing roadside assistance along interstates outside of Metro Atlanta.
CHAMP patrols 981 miles of Georgia, has 80 active operators, and has performed more than 164,000 assists. In addition to the 16 interstate routes (except I-24 and I-59) outside of Atlanta, operators cover up to 10 miles on either side of interstates.
They assist with roadway maintenance (bridge damage, traffic signal malfunctions, etc.) and on-scene emergency response. Other services include:
- Assisting stranded motorists
- Acting in a support role to law enforcement agencies
- Removing debris and non-hazardous spills
- Tagging or removing abandoned vehicles
- Reporting maintenance issues with infrastructure
Requesting CHAMP Assistance
If you are outside of Metro Atlanta, dial 511 from any phone. When prompted say "CHAMP'' for motorist assistance.
CHAMP is available for 16 hours a day and on-call the remaining 8 hours, seven days a week.
In 2000, the FCC established “511” as America’s travel information number. The Georgia DOT uses GA 511 as a real-time, 24-hour traffic hub to serve travelers.
GA 511 has a mobile app you can download. If you need to call in, the main menu will ask if you want one of the following options:
- Traffic reports
- HERO assistance
- Report an incident
- CHAMP assistance
- Speak with a traffic operator
- Locating services
- Transfer my call. Call destinations to say include:
- Peach Pass
- Hartsfield-Jackson Airport
- Savannah/Hilton Head Airport
For Crashes and Serious Injuries, Call 911
HERO and CHAMP operators are not primary emergency responders. Their main job is to keep traffic moving or shield an accident site from a secondary crash. Always call 911 if there has been a severe crash or incident.
After that, we recommend contacting an Atlanta personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.