We’ve all seen it, some of us have even experienced it first-hand—a driver parked on the side of the road, looking helpless as they stand beside their broken-down vehicle. It’s a situation no one wants to find themselves in.
But vehicle breakdowns happen. Instead of fretting about worst-case scenarios, the best thing you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers is to know what steps to take and to stay prepared. In this blog, we’ll go over what to do if your car breaks down step-by-step and provide smart tips for added protection.
What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down
- Turn on Your Hazards and Pull Over
Switch on your hazard lights as soon as you sense a problem with your vehicle. If it’s possible, slow down and pull your car over to the side of the road, preferably the right shoulder or as far away from traffic as you can.
- Assess the Problem
Check your dashboard for any warning lights that might indicate a serious issue. Look for smoke from the hood of your car and listen for any unusual noises. Check for a flat tire or external issues only when it’s safe to do so. If you are broken down in the middle of a busy highway DO NOT attempt to exit your vehicle and cross through traffic by foot, this can be extremely dangerous. Wait inside your car with the hazards turned on until help arrives.
- Alert Other Drivers
Let other drivers know your car is immobile and to proceed with caution by keeping your hazard lights on, propping up your hood, and setting up flares or reflective triangles. If you’re broken down on a dark road, turn on your interior lights to help drivers see your vehicle. Keep your engine running if possible to avoid draining your battery.
- Call Roadside Assistance or Emergency Services for Help
Once it is safe to do so, call your roadside assistance provider, a tow truck, or a mechanic to come by and address the issue. If you find yourself in an emergency situation or without cell phone reception, call 9-1-1.
Knowing what to do if your car breaks down is crucial for maintaining your safety in an unexpected situation. Still, it’s easy to worry about the possibility of being stranded somewhere with a non-functioning car. The best thing you can do to ease your mind is to stay prepared.
Here are a few smart tips to stay prepared in case of serious car troubles:
- Buy or compile an emergency kit to stow in your car. The kit should include water bottles, shelf-stable food like granola bars or crackers, a first-aid kit, a flashlight with batteries, an emergency blanket, a roadmap, and a phone charger.
- If you don’t already have these items, head to an auto parts store and pick up flares, a reflective triangle, and a high visibility vest the keep in your trunk.
- If you have a spare tire, make sure it’s in good condition. If you can’t keep a spare tire in your car, get a quality tire repair kit to have on hand.
- Get roadside assistance coverage, such as AAA.
Stay Protected with Elo GPS and CarRx
Having a reliable GPS system when all else fails can be a life saver. Elo GPS is a real-time location tracking device designed to communicate the time, place, and location of your vehicle to registered users and, if need be, to emergency services.
CarRx can help you diagnose car problems before they lead to a breakdown. CarRx’s connected vehicle technology automatically scans the vehicle every 15 minutes, providing you with regular updates related to the health and condition of the engine, tires, battery, and more. These comprehensive diagnostic reports don’t just alert you of an issue, they also give you detailed explanations of all car warning light symbols so you can mitigate risks and stay safe—so you can spend less time worrying about what to do if your car breaks down. Connect with one of our team members to learn more about Elo GPS with CarRx.