There are many reasons why a car could suddenly malfunction and leave you stranded in an unfamiliar location. Fortunately, the situation can be managed no matter what has happened to your vehicle or where you are. Continue reading below to learn about the steps to take to calmly and safely get yourself and your broken-down vehicle out of this predicament.
Get Your Car Off The Road
The first thing you must do if your car has broken down is to get off the road. Regardless of what’s wrong with your car — whether your car ran out of gas, the battery died, or the vehicle has overheated — it is essential that you pull over.
Unfortunately, sometimes your car will stop in the middle of the road before you can navigate to a safer location. If you are on a busy street or highway, do not get out of the vehicle. This is not the time to worry about causing traffic build-up: don’t risk your safety just to move your car.
Next, turn on your emergency lights. This will signal to other drivers that they should steer clear of you and your vehicle. Failing to put on your emergency blinkers may cause accidents that could have easily been avoided. If your battery is dead and you cannot turn on your lights, putting out anything with bright colors or reflective will increase your visibility.
Assessing whether you are near a town or city and how far away it is will be beneficial for figuring out your next steps. By pulling up a map on your phone, calling an operator or conducting an internet search, you will be able to at least estimate where you are and which businesses in the area can be of service.
In some instances, you may lack sufficient data to use GPS on your phone. While this might be nerve-wracking and stressful, you can still approximate your location by way of mile markers and highway signs.
Mile makers serve to indicate your proximity to a state’s border. This information, along with the highway or road you are on can serve you greatly when informing the police or a towing company of your location.
Assess The Damage
If you successfully manage to move your vehicle off the road, and it is safe to get out, you should do so and determine the location and cause of the damage. Figure out if it’s a minor issue, or if you have something seriously wrong with your vehicle.
Even with little knowledge about cars, you can still get a general sense of what went wrong. For instance, it is easy to spot a flat tire, smells like gas and antifreeze, or smoke emitting from a certain area of the engine. This kind of information will be helpful when informing a mechanic or towing company about the damage.
Call For Help
After assessing your situation, you will need to call for assistance. If you were able to find a nearby towing company, it should be your first call. At the very least, your car can be relocated to a more convenient location, if not a local mechanic.
However, if you do not find any towing companies or do not have access to the Internet, you still have options. Local law enforcement or your insurance company may be able to assist you.
While waiting for help, stay safe, and don’t needlessly expose yourself to threats. Remain close to your vehicle and away from the busy road. If you are stranded at night, stay in your car and lock your doors until help arrives.