The toll-free number is printed on all state driver's licenses and ID cards. The Texas Department of Public Safety created the hotline in 1989 to get stranded motorists the help they need.
DPS Trooper Richard Standifer says a lot of drivers never notice the phone number. But among those who do, there's been some misinformation.
"There seems to be a preconceived notion that when you call this number, you're going to get a free wrecker tow," Standifer says. "That is not correct. There will incurred costs if there is a mechanical failure for the car and it has to be towed."
Some of that confusion stems from an email that circulated in 2001, telling drivers that if they call the number, the state would pick up the tab for their roadside service.
Here's what actually happens. Motorists who call the hotline are connected to DPS operators in Austin. They'll contact a nearby trooper or local police agency to send help or go and check on the motorist. Standifer says he wants more drivers to be aware of the resource, but he says the hotline is specifically intended for non-emergency situations.
Standifer says he wants more drivers to be aware of the resource as they hit the road for holiday travel, but he says the hotline is specifically intended for non-emergency situations.
"A non-emergency would be something like debris in the roadway, a flat tire, you're out of gas," he says.
Standifer asks drivers to have key information on hand when they call the hotline. Dispatchers will likely ask for your name, cell phone number and location. He says noting nearby intersections or mile markers will help an officer reach you as soon as possible.
Texas Roadside Assistance can be reached at 1-800-525-5555.