From engine and tire problems to electrical and gearbox issues – there’s an array of scenarios that could cause your vehicle to breakdown while you’re on the road. When you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it can be challenging to concentrate on what to do in the midst of all the stress.
What should you do to give yourself the best chance of preventing a bad situation from becoming worse? Here are 4 steps to take if your car breaks down on the road.
#1: Get to Safety
When your vehicle breaks down, regardless of the issue, your number one priority is ensuring that you and your passengers are as safe as possible.
If possible, steer your vehicle towards the side of the road and park as far from the road as possible, ensuring you’re not in sitting in the middle of the road, posing threat to other drivers.
If you are unable to make it off the road, sit steady and wait for help. One of the most dangerous things you can do is attempt to exit your vehicle in the middle of the road.
Once you have come to a stop, take note of your location – look for exit signs, markers, landmarks, etc. You’ll need this information when you call for help.
#2: Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Visible
Once you have moved your vehicle to the safest possible place, your next step is to ensure that it is visible to other drivers on the road.
Switch your hazard lights on. If there is poor visibility, it’s a good idea to switch your parking lights on too.
If you were able to get your vehicle off the main road and into the emergency lane, place your emergency triangle at least 2 meters behind your vehicle so that other drivers can take note of your vehicle and act accordingly.
#3: Call For Help
Now that your vehicle is out of the road, and visible to other drivers, you’ll need to call for assistance.
In this situation, a breakdown response service can be a lifesaver. If you don’t have roadside assistance, contact the relevant emergency services as well as a friend or family member to let them know what’s going on.
#4: Stay Calm and Remain Vigilant
As difficult as it may be during an emergency situation, staying calm is one of the best things you can do.
Once your vehicle is out of the road and visible to other drivers, and the relevant emergency services have been notified, it comes time to stay put.
Emergency services may take a while to arrive, depending on where you broke down. But, whilst you are waiting, strive to remain as calm as possible and keep an eye out. The road is an unpredictable place, as such, you need to be vigilant of your surroundings and know what is happening around you.
#5: Take notes
While you’re waiting for emergency services to arrive, it’s a good idea to jot down details of the incident while it’s fresh in your mind. During a breakdown or road incident, stress tends to take over. When this happens, you’re more focused on getting out of the situation than on what happened. It’s important that you have accurate information on what happened as this can be helpful when assistance arrives and may be required when your vehicle is being repaired.
The Risk of Being Broken Down in SA
In South Africa, breaking down puts drivers at a lot of risk. When you’re stuck on the side of the road you essentially become a sitting duck. The quicker you can get help, the better.
If you’re unprepared for a break down, you could end up spending hours waiting for help; the exact thing you want to avoid. Time of the essence – you need to act fast, and think smartly. One of the most helpful things to have during a breakdown is a Security Alert app. This will help you act fast and get the help you need in the shortest time possible.
Breaking down is not just a matter of inconvenience – it can be a very dangerous situation. Whether you’re taking a short drive to the convenience store, or taking a longer drive home from work, knowing what to do when your vehicle breaks down can help you avoid any additional bumps in the road.
Follow the above steps, remain calm and prepare for the worst case scenario.