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High gas prices have more drivers running on empty. Here's how TDOT is helping

If you run out of gas on the interstate, *847 is the number to call. In a matter in minutes, TDOT will come to you with a free gallon of gas.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As gas prices continue to rise, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is getting more calls for help on the interstate.

RELATED: Here's how you get cheaper gas as prices reach an all-time high in Memphis

Eric Hill, a help service operator with TDOT, has 15 years of service under his belt. 

"Our main objective is to keep the interstate open,” said Hill. "I like that fact that we go out and we save lives.”  

Hill and his team of 5 to 7 drivers respond to calls for help every day if a car breaks down or gets a flat tire. They're now getting more calls for a different reason.

“Those gas calls are going up,” said Hill. “We're averaging anywhere between 15 to 20 plus more calls for gas.”

According to AAA, as of May 18, on average, a gallon of regular gas in Shelby County is $4.30. That's two cents higher than the state's average at $4.28.

The economic problem is now becoming a safety hazard.

“When you run out of gas, sometimes, drivers can be in the lane,” said Hill. “Sometimes, we can find them on the shoulder. Other times, they go to the median."

RELATED: Shelby County roadways are the deadliest in the state of Tennessee

With more drivers stranded on the highway, Hill worries it could get worse before it gets better.

“Unfortunately, over my years, we've had fatalities where people run out of gas,” said Hill. “That's the seriousness of making sure your car has gasoline in it."

If you run out of gas, *847 is the number to call. In a matter in minutes, TDOT will respond with a free gallon of gas.

“We'll get to you and make sure you're OK,” said Hill.

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