What to Do After a Breakdown and When to Call Roadside Assistance

What to Do After a Breakdown and When to Call Roadside Assistance

Where car breakdowns cannot be predicted and can really mess up your travel plans, remaining calm will take you closer to stress reduction and quicker problem solving. This educational guide will provide you with everything you need to know after a breakdown and will pinpoint, through key decision-making moments, when you should contact a roadside assistance provider. By following these professional recommendations, you’ll guarantee your safety and a quick return to your journey.

Safety First: Securing the Scene

Pull Over Safely

Your first reaction must be the controlled maneuver of pulling your vehicle out of the traffic flow. You can effect this by steering calmly towards the right-hand shoulder, where the shoulder is designated for such use. Establish a safe place, and then bring the car to a complete stop, minimizing any further risk to yourself and other drivers.

Turn on Hazard Lights

Once you’ve managed to coast to a stop after a vehicle breakdown, the next important measure is to warn other motorists of your disabled vehicle. This is where your hazard lights come in. Hit the hazard button, usually in the form of a red triangle with an exclamation point, which activates a synchronized flashing of your turn signals. This bright, attention-grabbing display warns other drivers to slow down and change lanes if necessary, creating a safe buffer zone around your car.

Engage Parking Brake and Wheel Positioning

After you’ve brought your car to a complete stop on the shoulder, don’t forget to secure the vehicle further. Engage your parking brake, also known as the emergency brake, to prevent the car from rolling unintentionally. This adds an extra layer of safety, especially important on inclines. If you are parked on a hill, take an additional step: turn your front wheels away from the road. This simple action acts like a wedge, helping to chock the tires and further prevent the car from rolling down the incline.

Assessing the Situation

Can You Identify the Problem?

For those who are comfortable with basic car mechanics, a breakdown can be an opportunity to diagnose the problem themselves. Sometimes the problems are simple, like a flat tire or a dead battery, and the solution might be immediately at hand.  But if the problem appears to be more complex or you’re uncertain how to fix it, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and solicit professional help.

Turn Off Engine and Stay Put

When the reason for the failure is not known or it looks severe, you need to think first of your safety. Stop the engine so that no more damages may occur and the vehicle does not become a fire hazard. Stay in the car with your passengers and make sure everyone is buckled. This keeps you out of harm’s way from oncoming traffic while you wait for assistance.

Calling for Help: When is Roadside Service Necessary?

Major Mechanical Issues 

In the case of no-start problems whose cause is unknown, in the case of unusual noises coming from the engine bay, or when multiple warning lights on the instrument cluster come on, contact roadside services. These signs frequently point to much larger problems than can be cured on the roadside.  With professional help, this can be done quickly and safely to get you back on the road in your vehicle.

Flat Tire and Can’t Change It

If you have a flat tire, you might be delayed because you do not have an extra tire or a jack, or you do not know how to fix it. But professional help through roadside services will take care of it. Just make a call, and a technician will be assigned to you to quickly fix your problem, allowing you to proceed on your way.

Dangerous Location

When you experience a breakdown on a fast highway, a blind curve with poor visibility, or in dangerous weather like a downpour or a snowstorm, attempting roadside repair under such conditions can prove to be highly dangerous. In such situations, safety is paramount. Never think twice and call for roadside help. The trained professionals will arrive at your location in a safe manner and diagnose the problem with the vehicle, thereby reducing the risk to you and other drivers.

Using Roadside Assistance

Insurance or Membership Programs

Fortunately, most car insurance policies and auto clubs include roadside services as a great benefit. Before you are stuck in a dire situation, take a moment to look at your policy details or membership card. This often includes a phone number or some type of code to call, which is important in using roadside services when you really need it.

Gather Information

Being prepared can help expedite the rescue process when you call for roadside help. Have information about your location, and mile markers or exit numbers if you are on a highway. This information helps pinpoint your exact position, allowing roadside services to dispatch the nearest technician efficiently and ensure a swift resolution to your breakdown.

Describe the Problem

When you contact roadside services, give a clear and concise summary of your breakdown. This can range from a flat tire to a complete lack of engine response. The more you detail, the better equipped your provider will be able to assess the situation and send the most qualified technician to get you back on the road quickly.

Additional Tips

Stay Visible

If you must exit your car due to extreme circumstances, put on reflective gear and stand away from traffic.

Bring a Phone Charger

A portable phone charger can ensure your phone stays powered in case of a long wait.

Be Prepared

Think about having an emergency kit for your car. This kit can include a flashlight, jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, and basic tools.

Key Takeaway

Using these clear steps, one can turn a potentially stressful situation caused by a car breakdown into something that is manageable. Each step, from securing your vehicle to identifying when to call for roadside assistance, empowers you to take control. Knowing when to rely on roadside services professionals ensures your safety and minimizes delays. Ultimately, with this knowledge at your fingertips, you can navigate a breakdown calmly, secure the help you need, and get back on the road as quickly as possible.