When your car breaks down unexpectedly, it’s instinctual to panic first. It’s easy for a such an event to ruin a day completely. A lot of people who experience roadside breakdowns end up spending way more money than they should and making unwise decisions because they feel pressured and agitated. Take a deep breath, ensure your personal safety, and follow these tips.
If your battery runs out on you, your tyre goes flat, or you begin having serious engine trouble that you can’t fix on your own, follow these tips. With these dos and don’ts in mind, you can get back on the road as fast as possible.
1. Ensure your safety first.
This is less of a tip and more of a principle to live by. Before you do anything else, always ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers.
In the best case scenario, you’ll get some warning of an impending breakdown while you’re still driving. For example, you’ll see some warning lights on your dashboard, a feeling of loss of power, and even strange noises coming from your car’s engine. When these signs happen, be alert.
Immediately try to drive to the side of the road so that you can come to a safe stop. In no circumstance should you keep driving if these warning signs start happening. At the same time, don’t do an automatic stop in the middle of the driving lanes. Doing so may result in an accident, with fast-moving cars piling up behind you.
2. Find a breakdown bay or an emergency breakdown lane.
If you can’t find an emergency breakdown bay, try to at least stop at the roadside or in one of the outer lanes of the road. If there is a storm, try not to stop under a tree or a construction project.
As soon as you’ve found a place to stop, the next step to stay safe is to turn on your hazard lights and parking lights. You can even pop the bonnet off to show other drivers you have broken down. This precaution lets other drivers know that you’ve stopped there because of a breakdown.
Don’t exit your car if you’re on a busy highway. You’re safer inside your car than you are outside of it. If you want to call for assistance, do so from the inside. However, if you’re in an isolated or low-traffic area and you want to get out of your car, check for approaching traffic.
3. Exit your vehicle carefully.
Be smart and alert when it comes to your surroundings. If you want to exit your vehicle because it’s not comfortable inside your car or you want to get better mobile reception, make sure to exit your car carefully. Check for traffic before exiting your vehicle. As much as possible, leave from whichever side is away from the traffic so that you aren’t caught by moving vehicles.
Stand well off the road. If there are safety barriers, make sure that you are behind them. Don’t get out of your car if there’s nowhere safe to stand.
4. Check if you have your roadside safety kit.
In an ideal world, we’d have all the tools we needed to fix whatever’s broken down in your car to hand. After all, preparedness is key to success.
If you have a roadside safety kit and you have experience assisting in roadside breakdowns, you can try to jumpstart your car, or repair it enough to can get it to the nearest auto shop for a proper repair. Roadside safety kits often include jumper cables, reflectors, spanners, spare oil, litres of water, and other basic tools. These can be enough to deal with an overheated engine or a dead battery.
If you don’t know how to work on your own car, or if you’ve broken down in the dark, call for assistance instead.
5. Get roadside assistance from trustworthy providers.
After moving to the side, turning on your hazard lights and popping the bonnet, and even checking for your roadside safety kit, it’s time to call for roadside assistance.
Make sure to call only trustworthy providers. Don’t get into a car with strangers promising help, even if they claim to be service professionals.
If your mobile phone is not working, stay in your car and wait for another driver or a roadside authority to approach you. If your car breaks down in a low-traffic area, you can seek help from passing drivers by flagging them down. Always remember to do so from a careful distance. Ask these good Samaritans to call your roadside assistance or car insurance provider.
6. Stay near your car.
If you’re stuck in an isolated area with no traffic, there’s a big temptation to leave your car behind and to walk to the nearby town. Do not to do this until you have absolutely no choice. It’s better to stay patient and conserve your energy and resources. In most instances, it’s still safer to wait and more comfortable to sit inside your car.
It’s a better idea to stay near your vehicle. Make sure your car is visible for potential passing drivers to see, and stay out of the direct sun. Keep your hazard lights on, raise your bonnet, and wait for someone else to assist you. If passing drivers also don’t have signal to call for roadside assistance or for your car insurance, ask them to drive to a more built-up area and call.
If you need to leave your car because of weather conditions, make sure to take note of the time you left your car. Don’t stay away too long. Leave a visible note on your vehicle with details on what direction you’re walking to and your phone number.
Under no circumstance should you leave children or pets inside a locked car. Temperature can quickly build up and they can suffer heatstroke.
Safe towing with Newcastle Towing and Transport
For a complete solution for all of your towing needs, you can rely on Newcastle Towing and Transport. With 24/7 towing services and a commitment to customer satisfaction, you don’t have to deal with any added worry after a car breakdown.
Aside from general towing, Newcastle Towing and Transport also provides roadside assistance, specialty and prestige towing, and vehicle salvage and recovery. Contact us for prompt assistance!