You’re on your way to the office, begrudging every minute of that migraine-inducing, bumper-to-bumper traffic, when out of nowhere, a rattling noise, a sputter, and then your car goes silent. It’s rush hour, and you’re broken down on the side of the road with a dead car and no plan.
Any reasonable driver dreads the possibility of their vehicle breaking down on the road, and though we can’t always prevent such events from happening, we can do our best to prepare for them. Here are seven easy-to-remember steps for handling a car emergency while on the road.
Easy-to-Remember Steps for Handling a Broken Down Car
1. Brake Slowly
If you sense any car trouble on the road, slow your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator and begin braking slowly. Do not brake suddenly, as this could worsen the problem and potentially lead to an accident.
2. Find a Safe Place to Stop
It’s crucial to move away from other vehicles to prevent roadblocks or collisions. So, using either your blinker or hazard lights, signal your intentions, check your mirrors and move away from traffic as carefully as possible. Move to the right shoulder of the road, turn the wheel to the right and secure the emergency brake. Moving into the left shoulder is highly discouraged and should only be used as a last resort if no other options are available.
If you’re driving on a freeway, try to get off at the nearest exit. Dealing with a breakdown on the freeway is dangerous and stressful. The best case scenario is to deal with a breakdown in a well-lighted parking lot.
3. Make Yourself Noticeable
Assuming the car is safe to be around and not smoking or on fire, set out reflecting cones (if you have them) behind and in front of the vehicle to alert passing drivers on either side of the situation. This is especially important if the breakdown occurs at nighttime. Consider turning on the vehicle’s interior lights if it’s dark, making your car as noticeable as possible. (Your car is already broken down, so there’s not much reason to worry about draining the battery.) Propping the hood open is a good way to alert other drivers that the car is broken down.
If you’re stuck on the freeway, the safest place to execute the next steps is inside your vehicle – again, assuming the car is safe, secure and not smoking.
4. Call for Help
Do not flag down passing vehicles for three reasons:
- It’s dangerous to solicit help from unknown strangers.
- Passing drivers are probably not able to resolve the problem as quickly as a professional.
- Flagging down drivers has a potential to cause an accident or collision.
If you have a provider of emergency roadside assistance, such as AAA or Esurance, contact them for help. If you do not have roadside assistance, contact a towing service or, as long as you’re in Texas, call 3-1-1. Your very last resort should be 9-1-1. Any of these resources will help you in relocating your vehicle to an appropriate site.
If you’re in the Sugar Land area, we can help you out with 24-hour towing service through Woods Towing. Go ahead and put their number in your phone book: 281-499-1024.
5. Remember, It’s Okay
Most importantly, remain calm and collected. Breakdowns happen every day…but just because it happens to your car doesn’t mean it has to happen to you, too.
Get That Car Repaired!
Once you’ve gotten your broken down vehicle off the road, the worst part is over. Even if it’s after hours, you can leave your vehicle at Colony One Auto Center and we will take a look at it the following morning. Remember that you can call our tow line 24/7 at 281-499-1024, or contact us directly if you have additional concerns or questions.