Simple Steps for Dealing with Unexpected Car Troubles

Staying safe and calm when your car breaks down

Finding yourself stranded with a broken down car is an experience that all drivers hope to avoid. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it is important to remain as safe as possible and to keep calm while you work toward a solution. Here are a few tips about safely navigating your way through a breakdown:

Get your car out of traffic. Leaving your idle car amongst traffic can make a bad situation worse, so do your best to get to the side of the road or another safe place that’s out of the way of traffic. Turn on your hazard lights as soon as your car begins to malfunction so that other drivers know to use caution. If your car will not move on its own, do not enter traffic in an attempt to push it.

Call for roadside assistance. Your auto insurance policy may include features, such as roadside assistance, that can save you a large amount of money if your car has to be towed. If your coverage offers roadside assistance, give your provider a call and be prepared to give them the following information:

  • Your car insurance policy information
  • Your exact location, if you are on the interstate look for a mile marker to help identify where you are
  • Your vehicle’s make, model, distinguishing features and license plate number
  • Your phone number, or the number of the phone of a passenger if yours may die or has a bad signal
  • A detailed description of the problems you are experiencing
  • The address of the auto repair shop that you would like to be towed to
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If you are unsure about whether or not your insurance provider offers a roadside assistance package, give your agent a call and ask for more information.

Don’t leave your car. If you abandon your car after it breaks down, it could be towed and you could find yourself spending a lot of unnecessary money to get it back. If you must leave your car to look for help, leave a note on the dashboard explaining the situation or hang a white cloth from the driver’s side window. This can buy you some time before your car is towed, but return as quickly as you can.

Know the signs of common car problems. Being able to identify the most common types of car complications can make it easier to try to remedy the situation. Your battery may need to be jumped if you hear little or no noise when trying to start your engine. If your car overheats, you may need to wait for it to cool down and then add coolant.

Staying safe after your car breaks down should be your number one priority. Never panic, stay clear of other cars and always do your best to work toward the quickest and safest solution possible.