Safety tips in a breakdown situation

A man with a cell phone is calling Fairfax Tow Truck for roadside assitance while is broken down car is on the side of the road with the hood open.As you are cruising down the highway jamming out to your favorite tunes, you suddenly here a loud pop, and see smoke. This is the worst case scenario, and you are for sure going to be late for your appointment. This is not great, but it is also very dangerous situation. The side of the road is a dangerous place, you have cars, trucks and vans whizzing past your location and if this is at night, it is only magnified. You need to take the correct precautions to ensure you and your family are going to be safe during a breakdown. With that in mind, here are some great tips on how to stay safe in case you are in a breakdown situation.

  • First and foremost, make sure to hold the wheel with two hands, and come to a safe stop on the side of the road.
  • Check for any issues such as dark smoke or the smell of burning. If you do see any of these issues, immediately exit the vehicle when it is safe to do so.
  • Park your vehicle as far to the right hand side as possible, and if you are near a rest area, try to make it to the parking lot.
  • Activate your hazard lights
  • Activate your parking lights if the weather is bad, if it is raining, or most importantly if it dark. If you do not have parking lights on your vehicle, instead you can activate your running lights and emergency break.
  • Only leave the vehicle if it is safe to do so. When you exit the vehicle ensure that you:A woman on the side of the road with her car hood open on her broken car is on her cellphone calling Fairfax Tow Truck for roadside assistance
    • Check for traffic coming from both ways.
    • Leave your vehicle from the passenger side if possible, especially if you are broken down near or on a corner.
    • Take your passenger and animals with you
    • Stand clear of the road and behind the road barrier to prevent injury in case your car is hit.
  • If you need to remain in the vehicle, seat belts should be fastened and where possible, you should sit in the seats furthers from traffic.
  • Call for assistance on your mobile phone, if you do not have a mobile phone there will be a roadside assistance phone nearby. Make sure to walk against traffic if possible, and be visible to cars. You will need to know the rough location of your vehicle, and many major highways will have mile markers to make it easier to identify where your vehicle is.
  • Avoid crossing the road when possible, especially if it is a divided highway, or interstate.
  • Do not work on the vehicle by yourself, you are putting yourself in danger, and without proper safety precautions you are in serious danger of injury or death.
  • If you have them, light road flairs or put out reflective cones behind your vehicle.
  • If you are in a tunnel, ensure that you have radio switched on, as it will help when talking to people on the phone!

A breakdown is never a good situation, but if you are take some precautions when dealing with this kind of event you will be safe. This is not something to take lightly, but stay calm and ensure you and your passengers are always in a safe position.

If you have any safety tips you would like to add, then include them in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “Safety tips in a breakdown situation

  1. Great tips, I for one had this happen to me with my car twice by a flat tire. First was with a regular tire on my back passenger side while I was on my way to work to deliver pizza for the night. The only tip I didn’t use, funny enough, was call for help because being as stubborn as I am, I had the minimum tools to fix it myself. Later someone did pull over to assist me in putting my spare on. The next accident was more embarrassing because it was with that spare tire I put on, apparently it is not built for high speeds. Fortunately I wasn’t too far from home when it happened and I just had it towed to the shop. It sure is important to take all of these tips into account not just to make it easier to fix your car in a breakdown, but also to be safe and prepared as well. Nice Post

    1. Most cars do have the minimum tools needed to replace a tire. They can be difficult to use especially on the side of the road. It’s much safer to call for roadside assistance. They will have much better tools so it’ll be much safer and faster to get you off that roadside. Then if needed you can always be towed to a safer place then replace the tire.  I’m glad it all worked out for you and your safe.

  2. Hi, Steve,

    These are great tips to keep in mind for safety during a breakdown. Having a breakdown is the worst thing to go through especially when your car dies while you’re on the highway. That happened once on my way to work and even though I pulled over to the right, I couldn’t get myself completely off the highway because of the barriers. I was so frightened to get hit. Traffic was moving so fast and felt like it was moving so close. But these tips will help people to take precautions if they have a breakdown.

    Thank you for this helpful post.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. Being on the side of a highway can be very dangerous. People need to take every precaution possible. Cars and trucks on the highway can be moving at very high speeds which makes the situation very dangerous. 

  3. Your page is very informative on what to do during a breakdown on the road, most people either don’t know exactly what to do or they panic without thinking what to do. Your links are perfect for offering further information. I like your images, they show a perfect example of what one should do.

    1. Thanks Rick, we can understand why people panic in these situations. It’s unexpected and it can be dangerous especially if you breakdown on a highway. Most people have cell phones so help is only a call away. There are companies like ours across the country that are here to help out in these situations.

  4. Your safety tips in a breakdown are very good. I love them. I am a Towing and Recovery Heavy Duty Operator. You are right on the money. May I also say to please stay safe at the roadside when tow operator shows up. He knows what to do. Follow his desires, he has your interests in mind.

    1. Cliff,

      Thanks for the reminder. Once the tow operator shows up, please follow his/her direction because it’s still dangerous. Both your life and their life could be in danger if something goes wrong.

  5. I never knew about having the radio on as it helps with the reception of a cellphone. You know you’re on a good website when you know all about the topic but you still learn something. Back in high school with the help of my guidance counselor, I put together an auto class for girls that was accredited by the school board. The basis was around road safety, basic road repairs, and maintenance. Great site and very informative!

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