You might not like to think about it but it could happen to you: your car might break down on the road. Much as you might like to bury your head in the sand and hope against hope that you don’t end up in this situation, it’s better to be as prepared as possible because unfortunately you can’t schedule your car breakdown for the most convenient time and place. Here are our top tips for what to do when your car breaks down.
Moving your vehicle to a safer place
Fortunately, when your car breaks down it will rarely stop dead so, once you’re aware there’s a problem you can try to use the last momentum to move your car off the road and into a safer place. If you can, try to place your vehicle away from curves in the road. There might be occasions where the engine dies and you can’t get the car off the road. In this case don’t get out of the car, as uncomfortable as it might be it’s better to sit in the stationary vehicle with traffic building up behind than to try and cross a busy highway.
Be careful on the highway
If you are on a busy road or highway, you will need to be extra careful. It is not a good idea to get out of your car to check the damage or repair your vehicle. If your car isn’t driveable then it’s a better idea to sit inside it until help has arrived. Use your cellphone to call for help, Police services usually monitor the busier roads. If you have been in an accident signal the other driver to stop at a safe place where you can assess the damage and exchange details.
Showing other drivers that you have broken down
Engage your handbrake to ensure that the vehicle doesn’t accidentally roll back out into traffic. Carrying flares or triangles will be useful for showing other vehicles that your vehicle has broken down. You can also alert other drivers by putting on your hazard lights and lifting the hood.
There are some things you can do to prepare for break downs:
- Checking your tyre tread, paying particular attention to uneven wear which could indicate that your wheels are misaligned. Be prepared for a flat tyre by having a working jack ensuring that your spare wheel has enough tread and is ready for you to use. It’s also useful to have a tyre inflator.
- Check your battery regularly and check that the connections are secure and terminals are clean and corrosion free.
- Getting your car serviced regularly to ensure that the parts of your engine are all still in working order, for example checking the starter motor is still in good nick, your spark plugs aren’t overworn, and the HT leads haven’t been eroded.
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