The Basics of What to do in a Breakdown


No one wants to think about getting into a collision or breaking down on the side of the road, but it happens. The key is to be prepared when it does. Here are some tips on what to do in a breakdown.

Stay Calm

It’s stressful and scary to break down, especially on the side of a busy highway or on a deserted road late at night, or even waiting for the police after an accident with another motorist. Try to stay calm, call for help, exchange information if you can. If you haven’t broken down yet but you feel like something’s very wrong, respond calmly to warning signs.

Make a mental note of where you are, look for a well-lit area in which to turn, gradually slow down and pull off the road as far from other cars as possible. An example of a safe location is a parking lot. If your vehicle stops running but still has enough momentum to coast momentum, guide it as far off the road as possible while staying on level ground. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert others.

If you can’t get your car completely off the roadway, switch on the emergency flashers. In this instance, you may choose to leave your vehicle for a safer location. It’s not a good idea to try pushing a disabled car off the road. You can also signal other motorists that you have a problem by raising your car hood, tying a brightly colored scarf to the antenna or door handle, or setting off flares to encourage other motorists to proceed with caution as they pass.

Stay in the Vehicle

If you broke down by yourself, stay inside the vehicle. Don’t try to get out and walk for help. Call for roadside assistance and wait in the car. Never exit the vehicle to perform a repair or check out the damage on a busy highway, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you have to get out, make sure the vehicle is in a safe place. If you were in an accident, wave to the other driver to pull to safety as well.

If you can no longer drive the vehicle, it’s probably safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help after calling someone. It’s not a good idea to stand outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic. Standing in front of or behind your car is dangerous, in the event someone hits your vehicle.

Safety First

Carry flares or triangles to mark your location on the side of the road. This signals to other drivers to stay out of the way, and it will help in flagging down law enforcement or the tow truck. Put on your hazard lights.

If you have a flat tire, guide the vehicle to a safe place before attempting a tire change or repair, even if that entails damaging the wheel to get there. The expense of a tire, rim or wheel is nothing compared with the risk to your safety.

Contact Hance’s Uptown Collision Center

Did your car break down? Do you need collision repair? Just schedule an appointment today with us. We are open Monday through Friday for your convenience.

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