5 steps to take when your vehicle breaks down
If your car breaks down on the road, it’s more than inconvenient, it’s hazardous. When this happens, consider it a safety issue first and a mechanical issue second.
1. Get off the road.
Breakdowns rarely happen with a sudden stop, so you should be able to signal and drive or coast to the right. Find a spot with easy access into traffic after your car is fixed.
If your car is stopped in the middle of the road, exit the vehicle only if it’s safe to do so. Go to the side, beyond the guard rail. On busy roads, though, crossing traffic safely may be impossible.
2. Make your vehicle visible.
Use flashers, emergency markers, and flares to warn others. If stuck in a live lane, your dome lights will increase visibility.
3. Call or signal for help.
Call your auto club or insurance company if covered for roadside assistance and towing, like SECURA’s Roadside RescuerSM. You also could call 911; police can arrange towing. Lacking a phone or cellular signal, open your hood and someone else may call the police for you.
4. Lock the doors.
If your car is off the road, stay locked inside. You can roll your window down slightly to talk to strangers, but keep yourself safe. Wait for police. If you're on a busy road, they are patrolled heavily enough that help should arrive soon.
5. If you choose to leave your car, stay away from traffic.
Don’t change a tire near traffic. If you’re walking for gas, use extreme caution. If you feel uncomfortable with any stranger who offers to help, tell them a friend is already on the way.
Good maintenance may help avoid trouble, but when breakdowns occur, think safety first.