There’s never a good time for your car to die, but it can be especially dangerous if it happens in the middle of the road. The second you suspect there might be something wrong, pull over in a safe space and try to sort it out. Even if it’s tempting to ignore it until you reach your destination, or hope that it passes, it will only cost you more in the long run if you don’t have the problem looked at as soon as possible. Always remember that your car is less likely to break down if it’s well maintained. In the meantime, here is a short guide to help you keep calm if your car happens to break down on the side of the road.
In any situation, it’s best to keep a cool head so you can get yourself to a safe space and calmly assess the damage. Get your car off the road, and make sure you only work on the side that’s not exposed to traffic to reduce your chances of getting hit. Once you’re safe, you can begin examining the car. Chances are it’s something simple you can fix yourself, like a flat tire or an overheated engine. If it’s not something you can fix with limited expertise, this is why you have roadside breakdown cover.
Don’t be a hazard
Let other drivers know that your vehicle is in trouble by keeping your hazard lights on, and placing a warning reflective triangle behind your car. If you’re somewhere where it’s not safe to put the triangle out, hang a white cloth or white piece of paper securely from your window. This will let other drivers know that it’s okay to pass around you. If it’s dark and foggy, keep your sidelights on so everyone can see you before they pass you, and wear a reflective jacket if you have one. Once you’re sorted, wait inside the vehicle with the doors locked and call for help. If someone stops and offers to help, open the window slightly and ask them to call the police.
Most people have breakdown cover as part of their insurance in the event that something like this happens. Even if you don’t have breakdown cover, you need to call tow trucks to get you off the road and on your way to a mechanic as soon as possible. If you’ve broken down on the highway, wait for a uniformed police officer or other emergency personnel to drive by.
Don’t be unprepared
Even though you weren’t planning to have your car break down on the side of the road, you should have been prepared for it anyway. Pre-packed roadside emergency kits are available in most auto centres, and they can help you cope with an accident. You could also make your own and stock it with things like phone chargers, duct Tape, electrical tape, rescue tape, a torch, an empty can for collecting gas, and jump leads for dealing with a dead battery.