Why Do Cars On The Side Of The Road Have Bags Or Shirts In The Window?

By | March 3, 2024

It can be advised that cars on the side of the road have bags or shirts in the window for several reasons:


Signaling Car Trouble

Placing bags or shirts in the window serves as a universal signal that the vehicle is experiencing mechanical issues or has broken down.



It communicates to passersby, law enforcement officers, and tow truck drivers that the car’s owner intends to return and requires assistance.


Prevention of Towing or Ticketing

This practice helps prevent the car from being towed or ticketed for abandonment by indicating that it is temporarily parked due to mechanical issues. This practice is not universally recognized or endorsed by law enforcement, and it’s crucial to check your local laws and regulations regarding abandoned vehicles.



Using brightly colored or contrasting materials in the window increases visibility, especially on busy roads or highways where breakdowns are more likely to occur.


Simple and Accessible Solution

Bags, shirts, towels, and other materials are easily accessible items that can be used to convey the need for assistance in a simple and effective manner.


Cultural and Regional Practice

While the practice of using bags or shirts in the window may vary slightly based on regional customs or preferences, the underlying purpose remains consistent.



It’s important to remember that while using a cloth as a signal is somewhat common, it’s not a guaranteed way to get help or avoid a tow. If your car breaks down, it’s crucial to:

a) Pull over to a safe location away from traffic.

b) Turn on your hazard lights.

c) If possible, call for roadside assistance or a tow truck.

d) If you can’t call for help and are leaving your car, make sure it’s locked and take any valuables with you.



Overall, placing bags or shirts in the window of a car on the side of the road is a practical way to communicate car trouble, request assistance, and ensure the vehicle is not mistakenly towed or ticketed for abandonment.

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