What To Do When My Car Breakdown on The Road

Millions of car breakdowns while on the road occur every year; often proving frustrating and unsettling experiences, especially if you have young passengers or are unsure of what to do.

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If you are a driver and a car owner, you must be aware of the basic tips and precautions. For other drivers, they usually panic when their car stops working and this hinders them from being able to decide and think properly. The first and foremost thing you have to keep in mind is to stay calm so you can strategize on what you should do next.

Much of the stress of a breakdown can be relieved by planning ahead - many breakdowns can be avoided by ensuring the car is regularly serviced and well maintained. As such, there is basic car maintenance that can be carried out by the driver. Checking the engine oil, tire pressure and the condition of the brakes could prevent the frustration of a breakdown and the expense of repairs.

Before taking any journey there are a few items that can be invaluable in a breakdown situation and should be stored in your car. These include a warning triangle, a fully charged mobile phone and blankets.

There are a few safety precautions and tips which will be helpful for you in case you encounter a car breakdown. Basic precautions that drivers like you should do whenever you experience sudden breakdown are the following:

- Stay Safe

First is to put your car on the safest spot or location as possible. Do not go down the vehicle and do some inspections and repairs most especially if you are right in the middle of a busy highway. If in case there is another car involved in the incident, communicate and do a signal that will inform him or her that you must both place proper warning devices so that other oncoming vehicles will be aware that you two are stuck in the middle of the road. Put out your reflective triangles and keep your hazard lights on. If you are really stuck and there is no way to have your car fixed right away, the next best thing is to do a phone call. This may either be to your car breakdown insurance company or to family and friends. It is best to do the phone call inside your car because it is riskier and prone to an accident if you stay outside your car when calling. You also have to make sure that you have the safety roadside emergency kit.

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- Use a warning triangle

A warning triangle is a useful tool to store in your boot and can be positioned a suitable distance behind your car to warn other drivers of your predicament. However, be careful as it can be dangerous to try and position the warning triangle when broken down on the motorway.

- Wait for assistance outside the car if on heavy traffic

Motorways or busy roads present the biggest risk to the passengers of broken down vehicles. Therefore, never wait inside the car or next to it if broken down near heavy traffic. To prevent harm to passengers of another car colliding with the broken down vehicle, all occupants must leave the car. Exit via the passenger door on the left-hand side and move well away from the road.

Also, never look out for the hard shoulder of a motorway, rather move onto the grass or bank by the street. Drivers can likewise risk their own lives from staying by their vehicle and endeavoring to settle the issue themselves.

- Counteract low temperatures with a sleeping bag at night

During the winter months, it is important to keep a sleeping bag or thick blanket in your car to keep you warm in the event of being stranded - simply because the temperature can drop significantly at night.

- Contact breakdown services

If you have broken down on the motorway you should use the emergency phone at the side of the road to contact the breakdown services, instead of your mobile phone, as this will help them more easily pinpoint your location. The direction to the nearest emergency phone is labeled with an arrow every 100 meters on roadside markers, which are reflective and can be lit up by your car headlight bulbs at night. When walking along the carriageway make sure you keep your eye on the oncoming traffic and any potential danger.

- Give your details for quick and clear assistance

If you use the motorway emergency phone you will need to give the operator details of yourself, your vehicle and the motoring organization you belong to. If you are not a member of a roadside recovery organization the operator will still arrange recovery but you will be required to pay the bill, which can be quite hefty.

No matter whether you use the motorway emergency phone, or your own mobile, tell the operator if you are in a vulnerable group, for example, a lone female, a woman with children or a disabled motorist. This will ensure your request receives priority and that a recovery vehicle is dispatched to help you as soon as possible

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Apart from those, here are some more useful tips for drivers and car owners like you. Have a copy of the emergency phone numbers to call not only on your mobile phone but also within your car. Maybe you could jot the numbers down in a small card and keep in where it will not easily get lost. Also, be attentive when you are driving and if you feel that there is something wrong with your car, stop in a safe place and do a quick check. If in case your car already broke down, do not attempt to fix your car along the busy roadside, this might not only cause damage to your car but it can also possibly harm you.

When help does arrive, follow the mechanic's instructions and ask to see their ID when they arrive. Disabled drivers who cannot get out of the vehicle should switch on the side and hazard lights and display a 'help' pennant if they have one. If possible, it's normally advisable that they sit in the passenger seat with a seatbelt on as opposed to the driver's seat.
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