Prepare today for the unexpected
If you drive long enough, there’s always a chance that you will experience car trouble while you are driving. From engine issues to a blown tire, in the blink of an eye you can find yourself on the side of the road.
Preparation is the key to handling car trouble. Reviewing the following tips and having an emergency car kit will ensure that you are prepared to handle a potential emergency event. Rehearsing what to do if your car breaks down on the road will help you remain calm and collected during a stressful situation.
Pull over to safety
If you start to experience car trouble while you are on the road, the first order of business is getting your vehicle in a safe position out of traffic. If possible, steer your car to the right-hand shoulder of the road, getting as far off the road as possible. Only pull your car onto the median of a highway as a last resort. To prevent your car from rolling, turn the wheel away from the road and apply the emergency brake.
If you get stuck in traffic and can’t get off the road, stay in your vehicle – it is much safer to than getting out and dodging cars.
Make yourself visible
Making sure you are seen by other motorists is the best way to keep you and your passengers safe while you wait for help to arrive. Turning on your hazard lights is an ideal way to alert approaching drivers that you are experiencing car trouble.
Set up a pair of reflective safety triangles or road flares behind your car is another good way to make yourself seen. Put one near the vehicle about 10' away and put the other triangle / flare further away from the car.
If it is dark out, turning on your car’s interior dome light will also increase visibility.
Call for help
The advent of cell phones has made it much easier to call for help. Make sure your cell phone is charged and that you have a charger available in your vehicle. If you have roadside service like AAA, give them a call or contact a local tow company to assist you. Take note of where you are; mentioning exits, mile markers or landmarks will assist the tow truck in finding you.
If you are out of your cell phone service area, don’t assume that you can’t make an emergency call. According to FCC rules, providers must transmit 911 calls, even if you don’t use their service.
In the event that you can’t make a call, there are other ways you can communicate that you need help. Open the hood of your car and hang a white rag out the window or place it on the antenna as a signal to police officers and tow trucks that you need help. You can also put a sign out the window asking passersby to call the police.
Stay with your car
While you wait for help to arrive, be sure to stay in your vehicle with the doors locked. Walking on the roadway is extremely dangerous – especially if you are stuck on the highway with cars whizzing by at 60-70mph. It is also unsafe to stand next to or behind your vehicle. In most instances, remaining in your vehicle is the safest place to be.
If a Good Samaritan comes by to help, crack the window slightly and ask them to call the police if needed.
In most instances, remaining in your vehicle is the safest place to be.
Exit with caution
If you decide to do repairs on your vehicle, take care when exiting your car. Get out of the vehicle on the side where there is no traffic – even if this means going out the passenger door.
When working on your car, never do repairs on the side of the car that is exposed to traffic. It is safer to wait for a tow truck rather than changing the tire yourself; it isn’t worth risking your safety.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.