Vehicles almost never break down in a convenient location or at a convenient time. Proper maintenance can help minimize the risk of a breakdown, but the reality is that sooner or later, it happens to almost everyone. Here’s what you should do.
If something happens with your car, from the sudden appearance of the Check Engine light to an unnerving noise, your first instinct might be to slam on the brakes and panic steer. However, this is never the best reaction. Instead, stay calm. Gently ease your foot off the accelerator, and signal your intention for any moves you plan to make.
Get Off the Road
If the vehicle hasn’t completely died, try to get to the safest possible place. If on the interstate, attempt to carefully drive to the nearest exit. If on a major highway, try to pull into a parking lot. If all else fails, or the engine is dead, try to coast into a flat, straight section of the road’s shoulder.
Make Yourself Visible
After dark, turn on your interior light. If you have reflective markers, place them about 6 feet behind your vehicle. During the day, turn on your hazard lights (but don’t do this at night as other drivers may not realize you’re stopped). If you have a white piece of cloth or paper, hang it out the driver’s side window, rolling the window back up to secure it. This is a universal distress signal that should bring help from an officer or tow vehicle.
Use Caution if Getting Out
If you need to change a tire or perform other work on your vehicle, use extreme caution. If the problem is on the side of the vehicle facing traffic, do not attempt to make repairs unless you are in a parking lot or far off the road. If you feel compelled to walk somewhere, such as a gas station, get out on the side of the car facing away from traffic. Carry a flashlight or wear a safety vest to increase your visibility. Move steadily and carefully, staying far away from traffic and checking frequently for hazards, from rocks to snakes, that may be in your path.
If you have a cell phone, the best course of action is *always* to call your roadside rescue service for assistance unless you are in a completely safe place. If you don’t have a cell phone or a roadside rescue service, stay in the car with the doors locked and wait for an officer or courtesy roadside assistance.
Vehicle breakdowns are never fun, but following some simple tips can reduce the risk of disaster. Always remember that your safety is primary. Stay calm, use common sense, seek professional assistance, and your breakdown should be nothing more than a mild annoyance.
If you are tired of getting the runaround and being treated like you haven’t got a clue, we invite you to try Colchin Automotive instead. Give us a call at 303-431-5421 for all of your automotive needs!