Keeping your car well-maintained is the first step in avoiding an unexpected, and possibly costly, breakdown on the road. However, sometimes no matter how much we prepare, unanticipated events can cause our vehicles to breakdown. Maybe an object flew out of the open truck bed in front of you and cracked your windshield, or you ran something over that punctured your tire. Whatever the issue may be, knowing how to handle your car breaking down is important, not only for your own safety, but for others sharing the road during the event.
Vehicle Breakdown Tips
The next time you find yourself in an unexpected situation when you’re driving, follow these vehicle breakdown tips to safely get yourself through it:
- Know the common reasons for breakdowns. Simply being aware of some of the common issues a car might have will help you handle them should they occur. The majority of minor breakdowns usually involve a dead battery, flat tire, an overheated engine or running out of gas.
- Get your vehicle out of traffic. Pull off to the side of the road or get to a safe place as soon as possible. Staying in the middle of traffic will just escalate the situation and make it unsafe for everyone out there. However, if you can’t get your car out of the way, don’t attempt to get out and push it yourself. Simply wait for help to arrive.
- Stay with your car. It might be tempting to leave your car behind while you go get help, but instead you should have help come to you. Your car may end up towed, costing you lots of unnecessary money to retrieve it. If you are within walking distance of help, however, leave a note on the dashboard explaining the situation and try to get back to your car as quickly as possible.
- Make your car as visible as you can. Turn your hazards on the moment your car begins to malfunction so other drivers know to steer clear of you. If you’ve got a roadside emergency kit with you, use any of the warning signals available- usually flares or hazard triangles. Commercial motor vehicles are required to place the warning devices at 10’ and 100’ from the vehicle, facing towards approaching traffic and a device 100’ from the rear of the vehicle facing away from approaching traffic. If you are stopped along a curve or hill, a warning device should be placed 100’ to 500’ of the hillside to warn other drivers that your car is immobile. These same regulations could be applied to passenger vehicles as well. Depending on the reason your vehicle has broke down, flares may not always be the best option.
- Call roadside assistance if possible. Many insurance companies and car dealerships offer roadside assistance, so check your policies and know if you have this feature available. Roadside assistance can greatly help provide peace of mind to drivers, because they know that should an incident arise, help is just a phone call away!
It’s important not to panic when your car breaks down. Staying safe should be your top priority as you work towards finding a solution to the problem. DriveTeam offers teen driving classes and corporate driver training to help prepare drivers for any situation on the road. Contact us today for more information.
I like the suggestion to make your car as visible as you can. When your car breaks down and you call for help, it needs to be obvious where you car is and that it is malfunctioning. I would also suggest calling a friend to meet up with you as well, especially if you are alone. Thanks for the tips!
I do my best to maintain my car, but I’m worried about it breaking down. I’m thinking of putting a towing company in my phonebook ahead of time. In any case, I’ll be sure to follow your advice for dealing with breakdowns.