Roadside emergencies never come at a good time. While many car problems are preventable, you may still find yourself experiencing a serious issue on the road. Knowing what to do when your car breaks down prevents the issue from getting worse, and you’ll be able to keep yourself safe while you address the problem. The auto insurance experts from Altra Insurance Services suggest following these steps to remain safe in the event of a breakdown.
Quickly Check Your Surroundings
As soon as you notice there’s a problem with your car, you’ll want to start making sure you stay safe. Check to see if there’s a clear opening in the lanes that are in your exit path. You may also want to note if there are any cross streets or parking lots nearby that you might be able to make it to safely. If you’re on the freeway, try to note exit numbers and mile markers you may be able to use to notify a tow truck company or roadside assistance service of your location.
Turn on Your Hazard Lights
Car problems can cause you to do things that increase your risk of having an accident, such as slowing to a crawl while everyone else is going the speed limit. Turning on your hazard lights alerts the other drivers on the road that you’re having a problem so they can quickly pull over to a different lane or slow down. Keep in mind you should still do your best to move over to the right lane or the shoulder of the road so you can stay out of everyone’s way.
Pull Over to a Safe Location
Depending on the problem, you may be able to exit the freeway to get to a nearby parking area or side street. If not, you should pull over to the shoulder where there’s enough room for another vehicle to fit when someone comes to your aid. In most cases, it’s safest to remain in your vehicle while you wait for roadside services to arrive. If you do need to leave your vehicle, make sure it’s safe to open the door. Then move as far from the road as possible.
Make Your Vehicle Visible
Cars parked on the side of the road can still be hit by other vehicles passing by. Leave the hazard lights on, especially if it’s dark or raining. Raising the hood and tying a brightly colored piece of cloth to the antenna can also increase the visibility of your car. Flares are another option for alerting other drivers. However, you should avoid using anything with flames if you smell fuel or suspect there’s a leak.
Call for Help
Once you’ve come to a stop in a safe location, you’ll be ready to begin addressing the issue. If you’re handy and in a comfortable location, you might be able to change a tire or get gas yourself. However, most people will want to reach out to their preferred tow truck driver or roadside assistance company.
Breaking down on the road is never fun for anyone, but following these suggestions can make the experience a lot less nerve-racking. One of the most important things is to make sure you’re covered by auto insurance. You can trust Altra Insurance with almost all of your insurance needs, including motorcycle, homeowners, and car insurance. San Diego drivers should call our friendly staff today at (800) 719-9972 to ask about our services or schedule an appointment.