What to do when your car breaks down?
You all know how frustrating it can be when confronted with car trouble. While driving alone or with passengers, the last thing you expect is car issues that will most likely stall your journey. What are you to do in the unfortunate incident that your car breaks down, especially if you are on the road?
Turn on your hazard lights
If you notice an issue with your car, whether mechanical or electrical, the best thing to do is turn your hazard lights on. While driving with the hazard lights on, it indicates to other motorists that you are experiencing car issues. These lights communicate to other motorists that you are in an emergency, your car is a potential hazard on the road, and they should drive with caution while approaching you.
The National Motorists Association (NMA) strongly recommends this precaution as a way to safeguard you, your passengers, and other road users. Nonetheless, make sure you are conversant with different state laws about hazard lights, as these laws differ across states.
Slow down and pull off the road
With your hazard lights still on, try to locate and pull over at your right shoulder. If pulling over a shoulder isn’t an option, it is best to slow down without instantly pressing the brakes. At this point, you should be looking for a safe place to pull over. Indicate your intention of changing lanes and pull over to a halt in a flat spot, far away from the highway or moving traffic.
It is in your best interest to put as much space as possible between your car and the busy traffic. Even with your hazard lights on, it is not guaranteed that other motorists are as observant as you might think. So, if you pull over on the roadside with no shoulders, it is safe for you to get off and stand a couple of feet away from your vehicle.
Turn your wheels towards the curb an engage the emergency brakes
While coming to a halt, ensure you turn your wheels to face the curb before engaging the emergency brakes. These are preventive measures to ensure your faulty vehicle does not accidentally roll into traffic and cause further damage to other motorists.
Aim to be visible
If you are stranded on an isolated country road, your biggest hope at that moment is for someone to notice you by the roadside. Setting up flares, flags, and emergency warning triangles are some steps that will make you more noticeable to other motorists, especially at night.
NMA suggests putting on a reflective jacket, especially if you are trying to solve your car’s problems by yourself, like changing tires. There have been several occurrences where other motorists didn’t notice a car parked by the roadside, thus causing fatalities that could have been avoided. If you end up on the roadside, always aim to project your presence by all possible means. The faster people notice you are in trouble, the faster you might get help.
Stay in your vehicle
If for any reason, your car ends up stalling on a busy road or a highway, a wise move is to stay put in your vehicle. It is best to safeguard yourself by resisting the apparent temptation to get out and look for the damage immediately. Otherwise, you might put yourself at an even greater risk of getting hit by other speeding motorists. The safest place to get off your vehicle is on the right shoulder. If it’s completely necessary to get off your car, consider using your passenger door as a safe option to do so.
Call for help
The best thing is to find assistance to get you and your car off the road to a secure place, preferably an auto repair shop. Calling your mechanic is a good idea if they can reach your location on time. Alternatively, you can use a mobile app to locate the services of a tow truck or mechanic near you. For instance, if you have car issues on the road in Elgin, all you have to do is search and call for an auto repair in Elgin IL, and help will immediately come your way.
Besides observing federal regulations and standards, it is crucial to know the right things to do when facing trouble while driving. The proper steps you take will safeguard you and other motorists.