In a Bind: What to Do If Your Car Breaks down on the Highway

Monday, October 7, 2019

You rely on your car to get you around, but a breakdown can be extremely stressful and in some cases, very dangerous.

So, what do you do if your car breaks down on the highway and you're in the middle of heavy traffic?

Read on for some helpful tips that will keep you calm and get your vehicle in a safe place until help arrives.

Get off the Road ASAP

Obviously, you'll need to pull off the road as fast as you can so that you don't get hit by another vehicle when your car breaks down. Pull directly onto the shoulder into the right-hand emergency lane as quickly as you can.

Use your turn signal or turn your hazard lights on so other drivers know you're trying to get to a safe place. Never try to push your car when it breaks down, especially on busy highways and interstates. The key is to get the car as far away from the roadway as possible.

Call for Help

When your car breaks down, you probably won't be able to move it again so a call for help is in order. If you have roadside assistance through AAA or another service, call them as soon as you can. This number should already be pre-programmed into your phone so you'll always have quick access to it.

Make sure you know exactly where you're located so the tow truck can find you. Try not to call 911 unless you're in an extremely dire situation that requires the help of emergency personnel. When you call, make sure your phone is fully charged in case they need to call you back.

Make Yourself Visible

A common cause of breakdown-related accidents is when other vehicles can't see a stranded car on the side of the road. If you have road flares, place some behind your vehicle so you're clearly visible to passing cars.

Orange triangles are another option to ensure that your car is visible. If you have a bright orange or yellow vest or shirt, put it on and stand on the safe side of the road, or place it over the trunk of your car. Leave your hazard lights on until help arrives, especially if it's dark outside or you're stuck in inclement weather.

Don't Panic When Your Car Breaks Down

It's easy to feel a sense of panic when your car breaks down, but remaining calm is your best bet. As long as you can get off the roadway and alert someone you need help, you should be able to get to safety fairly soon.

Try to make your car as visible as possible to passing drivers for your safety and theirs. Never push your vehicle if you can avoid it, and keep your phone charged so you can stay in contact until help arrives.

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