Drivers expect their vehicles to safely transport them from point A to point B. But sometimes drivers find themselves stranded on the side of the road due to a breakdown. That can be an especially precarious position to be in, but knowing what to do during a breakdown can help drivers and their passengers get through such situations unscathed.
1. Find a safe spot to pull over. Whenever possible, guide the car to a shoulder or area out of the line of traffic but still visible to oncoming traffic. If the car is not drivable, enlist the help of someone to push it into a safe zone.
2. Turn on hazard lights. Esurance advises to put on hazard lights, which will warn other drivers that something is wrong. Hazard lights also may alert other motorists who might offer assistance. Once your hazard lights are on, pop the hood, which can serve as an additional alert to other drivers.
3. Engage the emergency brake. Turn the wheel away from the road and put on the emergency brake to help prevent the car from rolling.
4. Set up other warning signals. Prepared drivers keep cones, reflective triangles or flares in their cars. AARP suggests placing three warning signals. The first should be 50 feet away and directly behind the vehicle. The other two can then be placed nearer to the vehicle.
5. Remain in the vehicle. It is safer to stay in the vehicle and call for help than to get out and stand on the side of a busy roadway.
6. Call for assistance. Use a mobile phone to dial a roadside assistance service or tow truck. Drivers also may want to contact the nearest police station to ask for help.
Roadside assistance programs are available for a fee from private companies and sometimes through vehicle dealerships or insurance companies. Such services can provide peace of mind if and when breakdowns occur.