Breakdowns can happen. That’s just the reality of owning a car. If you’re lucky, you’ll break down in a parking lot or driveway where you are safe and can easily get help. If you are unlucky, however, and break down on the highway there are many precautions to take so that a bad situation does not get even worse.
You can minimize your stress and keep the situation under control with some simple guidelines for what to do if your car breaks down on the highway. Let’s review.
Get Out of the Way
The most important step to take is to try to get your vehicle to a safe spot. If you can, coast your car to the shoulder. Get as far out away from the travel lanes as you can. It helps if you are on a straight section of the road also, rather than on a curve or corner where cars may not see you as easily.
If your engine just dies and you can’t get off of the road, simply remain in your vehicle. This may be tough when cars start to line up behind you, but you are safer in your car until help comes than trying to run across the highway.
If you do manage to get to the side of the road, be sure to exit from the passenger side (or the side that is not next to the road) for safety.
Be Visible, Very Visible
You really want to make sure that other drivers can see you, especially if it is dusk or nighttime. Call attention to yourself by turning on your hazard lights or setting out reflective triangles or flares if you have them. If it’s nighttime, you could also turn on your car’s interior light. Just be careful not to drain the battery.
If it’s daytime, hang a piece of white cloth or a white piece of paper out your traffic-side window. The reflection will make you easier to spot.
Get Help. Repairs Can Wait
Once you are safe, use your cell phone to call for help. If you don’t have a phone, look for a nearby motorist aid call box. If you can safely walk to one, use it to call for help.
And, never try to work on your vehicle on the side of the highway, especially the side next to the travel lanes. You can easily be hit by a passing vehicle whose driver is not paying attention. If you have a flat tire on the traffic-side of the car, it’s best to wait for roadside assistance.
Roadside assistance can be a huge help when you break down on the highway. If your auto insurance policy does not include roadside assistance, it may be time to shop around.
InsuranceWins can help. Just use our simple form. You’ll get quotes from well-known insurance companies that you can use to compare rates and find the policy that’s right for you.