Life happens, and sometimes that means breaking down on the side of the road. Taking steps to handle a roadside emergency safely and effectively will get you back underway.
1. Assess the Situation for Safety
Safety should be your first priority when you have a breakdown or minor accident. Take a moment to turn on your hazard lights to alert passersby to your vehicle’s condition and location. Then take a quick look around to make sure the situation is safe. Some things you should look for include:
- sparks or leaking fluids that could ignite
- roadways that are blocked by your vehicle
- ample space to perform any necessary repairs, like changing a tire
2. Pull Off the Road
Leaving a stranded vehicle in a traffic lane is very dangerous. It is likely to be struck, which could cause injury whether you are inside or not. It can also cause traffic congestion to build up, which might lead other drivers to act recklessly. Find a safe place to pull your vehicle off the road. A wide shoulder or grassy area is ideal. Get help pushing it if necessary. If you absolutely must leave your car where it is, use safety gear like road flares or reflectors to increase its visibility.
3. Troubleshoot the Problem
Once you know you are safe and you are out of traffic, make an attempt to diagnose the problem. It may be as simple as observing a flat tire or an overheating engine. This will tell you where to start with repairs.
4. Find Local Help
Sometimes you are fortunate enough to have a break down near home where you have plenty of resources. Other times, it doesn’t work out quite that conveniently. Luckily, most people are carrying a smartphone in their pocket capable of location help during an emergency. Do a quick search for “auto repair shop near me” to find a parts store or mechanic nearby.
Breaking down is never a fun or convenient experience. You can take steps to make it safer and get back on the road quickly.