What Should I Do if my Car Breaks Down on the Freeway?

Don’t Over think, React

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 4229269Sudden pressure situations can sometimes get people tied up in their head. If you’re in immediate danger, keep your thoughts simple and handle the situation. Get out of the middle of the road if you can. Ensure your safety: where are other drivers in relation to you? Where do you need to be to safely avoid them? If you cannot get off the road and you think you may be in danger of getting struck by another vehicle, you may have to exit if you can do so safely. If you have the time do not forget to grab your phone and essentials.

Turn on Emergency Flashers

Right now. It alerts other drivers to your distress, giving them warning to steer clear of you. It could also be a helpful signal to law officers who could assist you. Now.

Eliminate Excess Stress

When your car breaks down, make sure you don’t break down too. Do something that helps you collect yourself. Talk yourself down into calmness, then build up your resolve to effectively deal with it, no problem. Take deep breaths and remember the last time you handled a tough situation.

Asses the Problem

Car breaks down for many reasons. If you can diagnose the problem without leaving your vehicle, do so. If you smell gas, do not light anything. If you are capable of determining the problem outside your car, do so. If not, hang tight and only leave your vehicle if you must. You may additionally consider whether or not you should lock your doors.

Take stock of your resources

Do you have a charged cell phone? If you’re verging on zero charge, you may need to immediately start making important calls, so determine if you need assistance. Your friend should not be the person you call first, unless you’re panicking on what to do next and you have a full phone battery and a charger.

How far away are you from assistance? Note your location so you can communicate it to someone who can help.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

If you’re in a high risk situation, i.e., if there is heavy traffic or it’s nighttime, call the police. 911 is reserved for serious emergencies; if this applies to you dial it. 311 is a non-emergency help number utilized by most communities across the US and could also be useful. If you’re able to, look up the number for a local roadside assistance company, or a national company such as AAA.

Plan Ahead

Regularly service your car. Keep an extra cell phone charger in your car at all times. If you have an old phone you don’t use, leave it in your car with emergency numbers saved in it, ready for use at all times. Make sure your car has a full emergency kit, stocked with a flashlight, blankets, a first-aid kit, etc. Tell someone where you’re going before you leave. Car malfunctions are sometimes inevitable, but you can minimize your risk so you can quickly move on.


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