Breaking down whilst on a road-trip is probably the last thing every driver wants, but a roadside emergency can happen to every driver. A flat tyre, overheated vehicle or an accident can happen on any day. This can force you to move your vehicle off the road can call up a breakdown recovery for roadside assistance, whether it be repairing your car on the side of the road or towing it away to a local garage.
A roadside emergency can be incredibly dangerous, as it puts you in a vulnerable situation and prone to be hit by other fast-moving cars. If you’re on a motorway, then you’d be a higher chance of getting hit therefore more danger and risk. If it’s night time and also foggy, this is the worst and you would be at the greatest risk.
Whether you’re carrying out repairs on your vehicle yourself or waiting for help from a breakdown rescue service, it’s crucial that you take a few steps to keep yourself safe whilst on the side of the road. Here are a few things you should do:
Keeping yourself save whilst on the side of the road
1. Take action immediately: If you notice car trouble, start moving over right way. If you wait too long, your car may stop moving before you’re able to get off of the road and this puts you at a greater risk of accidents because your car will stop in the middle of the road.
2. Get as far off the road as possible: If you’re experiencing an emergency whilst driving, the most important thing you can do is get to a safe place as soon as possible. A hard shoulder will do if that’s all you can manage, but it’s best to exit freeways, turn off roadways, and pull into a rest stop or a parking lot. Try to stop under a street light if possible to allow others see you. Never stop around corners or curves as approaching cars may not see you. You should also never stop on the bottom of a hill, or on a narrow road. Don’t stop on a left shoulder unless you have no other choice, as you will be unable to get out of your car and walk off of the highway. Even if you’re destroying your tyre, eep going until you can get to a safe spot. You may even save yourself breakdown rescue fees if you’re able to get to a parking lot where you can handle repairs yourself!
3. Let others know you’re in trouble: Turn on your hazard lights, and if you have safety cones, signs, flares, triangles, or a light, use those as well to increase your visibility. If you’re stopped at night, be sure to leave your lights on. You can also pop your hood to show others you’re having car trouble.
4. Call for roadside rescue: If you have roadside assistance through your insurance, give them a call immediately. They are typically available 24/7 with fast service that will take you to the nearest vehicle repair location. Remember to put their phone number in your cell phone so you’ll always have it handy. If you don’t have a roadside assistance cover, don’t worry, you can call a local roadside rescue company for a one-off rescue.
5. Remember you’re still in traffic: If you’ve stopped on the hard shoulder, do remember that this is still part of the traffic. This means you and your car are not protected by the white line that separates you from the approaching cars. It takes a small amount of wind or a distraction for other cars to drift away from their lane and into the hard shoulder, hitting your car. So, take care and keep your distance from the flowing traffic. If you can’t perform your own roadside repairs safely, it is best to remain in the vehicle with your seat belt on and doors locked. Don’t stand behind or next to your vehicle.
6. Have your emergency supplies ready: In an emergency like this, it’s paramount that you have a first aid kit, extra water, food, emergency repair supplies including tools, a spare tyre, duct tape, jack, jumper cables, heavy duty rope, gloves and flat tyre repair kit. You should also have flags, flares, or reflective triangles to warn other drivers that you’re having trouble.
7. Be ready to call a professional for help: Some vehicle owners can handle quick roadside repairs without help, but even the most DIYers can end up in a dangerous territory. You should know when it’s the right time to call for help but also should know that it’s not a good idea to try and do the same whilst you’re on a highway hard shoulder. Whilst you might be able to handle a tyre change in a parking lot, it’s not a good idea to try to do the same while you’re on a highway shoulder due to the risk of danger. So our advice is to use your best judgement.
8. Be careful about accepting help: It’s always best to call a professional, a trusted friend or family member who can help. Yet strangers who see you’re having trouble may stop to offer assistance. They may be well intentioned, but you should use caution. Lower your window only enough to talk and use your best judgement in accepting their help. If you’re waiting on roadside assistance, thank them for stopping and let them know that you’ll be taken care of.