Well, your car broke down. Now what? Hopefully, you are already on the side of the road, but even there isn’t necessarily safe. Here are a few tips for staying safe when your car breaks down.
Preventing Car Break Downs
The first step of roadside safety? Avoid it! Many breakdowns are preventable with proper maintenance and general car care. Money woes stopping you from performing regular maintenance? Remember, repairs post-breakdown are far more expensive than a 5-month check-up.
Driving and feel something funny? Instead of waiting for it to truly go South in the middle of the highway, pull off at the next exit. Stopping at the parking lot of a gas station or rest stop are safer options than the side or shoulder of the road. Plus, it’s easier and better for service vehicles as well.
Roadside Safety Tips
After your car breaks down, it’s hard to be in a “safety-first” mindset. But, that’s exactly where your mind needs to be.
Move Off the Road
Seems like a no-brainer, but some folks don’t move as far as they should. Ideally, move your vehicle to the right side of the road as far away as possible. We aren’t suggesting moving into the ditch or even in the grass, especially if your vehicle is on fire. Instead, utilize ALL of the shoulder space by getting as far away from moving traffic as you can.
Make Yourself Noticeable
Put your flashers on. Break out the triangles or flares if you’ve come prepared. If it’s nighttime and your battery works, leave your lights on.
Get Yourself and Passengers to Safety
On average, there are 59,000 pedestrian injuries from roadway crashes a year according to the Federal Highway Administration. For this reason, never stay inside the vehicle and stay as far away. Perform repairs only when you feel safe, and your vehicle is well-marked and noticeable.
Ideally, everyone should exit from the passenger side doors, exiting the car on the side away from moving traffic.
One exception to the rule? Animals. Standing on the side of the busy road is terrifying for animals that don’t understand the situation. Instead of risking them bolting away and into traffic, leave them in the car with the windows cracked/down and access to water. If it’s too hot and you have a restraint or leash, only then should you take them with you.
Be Prepared for Vehicle Break Downs
Being a prepared driver is your responsibility. Take the time setting yourself up for success and safety. Here are a few things every driver should keep in their car in case of a roadside emergency:
- Flags, Flares or Reflective Triangles
- Water Bottles and Food
- Warm Layers and Blankets
- First Aid Kit
- Charged Cell Phone
- Roadside Assistance Coverage
Staying safe after your car breaks down is priority number one. Following these simple safety tips will help keep you and your passengers safe while waiting for help.
And it all starts with preventative care. Think you have a problem with your car? Contact Northwest Auto Center at 281-894-8880 today and schedule a repair.