As a driver, the last thing you want is your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere, far from home. Unfortunately, with about 69 million vehicle breakdowns each year in the US alone, it seems to be a more common occurrence than you may have thought. Keeping your car in top shape is essential, but you still need to know how to handle breakdowns when they occur. So, what do you do if your car breaks down on you away from home? Try the following tips.
- Pull off the road immediately
If your vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road, you should pull off by moving your car as far to the right shoulder as possible. Before your vehicle pulls to a sudden halt, you’ll probably receive some early warning signs that something is wrong. Do not try to drive your way through it or remain on the road, as this could be very dangerous. Drive off the road immediately and be sure to stay away from turns and sharp curves. If your car breaks down without any warning, then turn your hazard lights on instantly, especially if you are on a busy road. Once you are off the road, use the emergency brake and steer your front tires away from the road.
- Let approaching drivers know you’re in trouble
You may be in luck if your vehicle breaks down on a busy road, as other motorists or onlookers may be able to help. But you will need first to indicate that you’re in trouble. Unfortunately, pulling off the road is not enough to let other drivers know you need help. This is where your emergency kit will come in handy. Get out your road warning triangle and place them about 50 metres behind your vehicle to notify approaching motorists. You can also raise your hood, which is a well-known indication that you’re in distress.
- Call for assistance
After safely getting your car off the road and giving the necessary indications to other motorists, you should call for assistance. You should contact anyone capable of helping – that is if you have enough time to wait. Alternatively, you can also call for a car towing service to get your vehicle to a safer location. If there’s some place you need to be at that moment, you can hail a taxi where possible or request an Uber ride.
- Don’t leave your car
After sending out a distress call, it is crucial to stay in your car or as close to your vehicle as possible. For example, if you have called for roadside assistance, they can’t do anything without you around. A second reason to stay in your car or as close to it as possible is that a pedestrian or other motorist may offer to lend a helping hand, which will not be possible in your absence. Furthermore, leaving your vehicle means exposing it to thieves, who may attempt to break in and make away with valuables. Besides, busy roads can be hazardous when walking on foot.
- Always be prepared
Technology always has a way of failing us, even after putting all preventive measures in place, including our cars. You may have done your part in maintaining your care and getting it inspected as often as necessary, but sometimes life happens. Therefore, it is best to have an emergency car kit in your vehicle at all times. We already mentioned the importance of rod flares. There are different reasons why a car may grind to a halt; you should always have a few necessary items on you if the unexpected happens. A basic emergency car kit should have the following tools:
- Torch with extra batteries
- Basic first aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Tire gauge
- Road flares or reflective car triangles
- Basic changing tools
- Extra water
- Some rugs
- After help arrives
Once a highway patrol team or roadside assistance service personnel shows up, there are few options available for you to get back on the road. If your car problem is as simple as changing a tyre or refuelling, you should have no trouble getting back on the street in no time. If your car is experiencing a mechanical issue beyond the assistance of the roadside assistance team, then you will probably have it towed and assessed later. If your vehicle has ended up as a non-runner after professional assessment, then you may want to consider looking for reasonable scrap car prices instead of abandoning it.