So you went out for a drive on the motorway, and suddenly your car decides to break down. You’ve managed to get your car to the side of the road and to relative safety, but you’re now stranded with vehicles zooming past. What do you do?
We’re assuming that’s where you are anyway, since you’ve landed here with us. Firstly, might we recommend that there are perhaps better ways to seek assistance during a breakdown than on the pages IDEAL?
That said, if you’re sitting relatively comfortably in your car, then we do understand; this is when the nerves kick in. You start to think about all of the things that could go wrong. What if you can’t get your car started again? What if I have to read yet another rhetorical question? What if you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere?
Truth be told, this is a fairly common feeling when faced with such circumstances. You may even begin to panic. But there are some things that you can do to stay calm and face down the situation safely. Here’s how to properly deal with your car breaking down.
Turn On The Hazards
Roads can be busy, dangerous places, and you have a responsibility to uphold the safety of other road users. So, the first thing you should do when your car breaks down is turn on your hazard lights, warning other road users that there is a potential hazard ahead, and letting them know to be cautious, preventing potential accidents.
If possible, you should of course try to move your car to the side of the road, making it easier for other road users to register the hazard as early as possible and avoid potential accidents. If your vehicle is immobilised, you should use the flares provided in the emergency kit to warn other road users.
Check For The Problem
Whether it’s due to a flat tyre, a dead battery, or something more serious, a breakdown can be a frustrating and even dangerous experience.
Prior to help arriving, it’s a good idea to ensure you have done your best to identify the problem. Once you have determined the problem, you can start to look for a solution, and determine whether you’ll need the help of services.
If your car is out of petrol, you will need to find a petrol station or a helpful citizen with a fuel canister. If the engine is overheating, you’ll need to let it cool down. If there is a flat tyre, you will need to change it. Some problems that cause breakdowns are straightforward and can be solved by the car owner without help.
Call For Help
If you can’t fix the problem yourself, you will need to call for help. If you have roadside assistance cover – in the UK, some of the most popular include RAC, Green Flag, and AXA – then you can contact them, and they will come to help you. If you don’t have a roadside assistance plan, you can call an emergency towing service or a roadside assistance company. If you are stranded and feel unsafe, consider also calling the police.
Roadside assistance services will usually be able to help you with problems like a flat tyre, a dead battery, or a car that won’t start. They will also be able to tow your vehicle to a nearby service station if necessary.
Stay With Your Car
Do not wander off in search of assistance. It can be very dangerous, especially if you get stranded in a remote area. If possible, you should stay inside your car and wait for help to arrive. If you have to get out of your vehicle, you should make sure that you are visible to other road users. You should also keep your phone with you if you need to call for help again.
What Can You Do To Avoid Breakdowns?
Although some cases are unavoidable, there are some things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of your car breaking down. Before leaving your home, you should ensure that your vehicle is in good working order.
This means checking the oil level, the tyre pressure, and the water level. You should also make sure that you have a full tank of gas.
If you are going on a long trip, you should take a few minutes to check your car before you leave. This will help ensure that your car is in good condition and less likely to break down. If you experience a problem with your vehicle, you should take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. This will help to avoid further issues and will also help to keep your car in good condition.
It also helps to pay for roadside assistance cover in advance. If your car does break down, you will have someone to call for help. Roadside assistance plans can be beneficial, especially if you’re stranded in a remote area. Not only do they provide you with a tow truck, but they can also help to fix your car if it is a simple problem.
Carrying an emergency kit in your car is also a good idea. If you break down, you will have the tools to fix the problem. The roadside emergency kit should include flares, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight. These items can be very helpful, especially if your car breaks down in a remote area.
If you are of a handy disposition (and even if you’re not, quite honestly), you may want to learn how to fix the fundamental car problems. This way, if you experience a problem, you will be able to fix it yourself. Although this is not always possible, it can be beneficial. Learning how to change a tyre is also a good idea, particularly.
The Bottom Line
Breaking down can be costly, stressful experience, but with a little preparation and a cool head, it needn’t ruin your day or journey.