Cars can fail for many reasons, from engine problems to broken parts in the suspension. You will know your vehicle is bound for a breakdown thanks to a sound, smell, or sputter. It is hard not to panic if your car has a breakdown while you are driving. However, panicking can put you, your passengers, and other drivers in danger. Instead, stay focused and remember these standard safety procedures. Knowledge and forethought can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major accident.
1. Put Your Hazard Lights On
Hazard lights signal to other drivers that something is wrong with your car. This keeps other cars away and makes it easier to steer off the road. Keep your hazard lights on until help arrives.
2. Get Your Car Off the Road and to the Right Shoulder
Act quickly to steer off the roadway and out of traffic. Get to the right shoulder if possible and avoid stopping near blind turns. Once you are safely off the road, you can pop the hood of your car or fly a piece of fabric from the driver’s side window to signal distress.
If your car has a breakdown while you are driving and you cannot get off the road, stay in the car. By exiting your vehicle, you risk injury or even death should a passing car lose control. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 28% of roadway injuries in 2020 involved pedestrians. So the safest place you can be is inside your car with your hazard lights on.
If you have flares or caution triangles, putting them out will bring more visual awareness to your vehicle and make it easier for assistance to find you.
3. Call for Assistance
Once you are safely on the shoulder, call a towing company or roadside assistance. To eliminate confusion and make it easy for help to find you, be specific and point out street signs, exits, or other landmarks in your location. After calling for help, phone a family member or a friend to let them know where you are.
What if you do not have a cell phone or are without a signal? Exit your vehicle via the passenger side door. Do not try to flag down another driver to use their phone, as this can distract them and cause an accident. Instead, walk to the nearest emergency call box or business to use the phone.
What if you are stranded in the middle of the road or blocking an intersection? Call 911 immediately. Emergency services can best address this traffic hazard.
If you have an extended vehicle warranty or vehicle protection plan, your plan should include roadside assistance. This benefit will help you cover the costs of a tow truck and ensure you are not left stranded if you car has a breakdown while you are driving.
4. Wait with Your Car Until Help Arrives
After a brief wait, depending on your location, a tow truck will arrive and safely bring you and your car into the repair shop. Resist the urge to repair or inspect your vehicle while on the side of a busy road.
What Plans Can Cover Auto Repair Bills if Your Car Has a Breakdown While You Are Driving?
It is always stressful if your car has a breakdown while you are driving, but the repair bill can be a breeze with the right amount of planning. If your car is out of warranty, invest in a vehicle protection plan to cover electrical or mechanical failures and avoid unexpected bills.
At autopom!, we make choosing the right plan quick and easy. Plus, with roadside assistance, rental vehicle assistance, and repair shop choice, you will be back on the road in no time following a breakdown. Contact us for a quote today.