We’ve all experienced the misfortune of a broken down vehicle at one point or another. If you are unlucky enough to experience this out on the open road alone, it is important to have a plan ahead of time to know how you’re going to handle the situation.
Following these steps can help keep you safe and get you back on the road in no time.
- Get off the road ASAP. Unless something has gone incredibly wrong with your vehicle, you should still be able to maneuver it off the road. If getting off the road isn’t an immediate possibility, turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers you are in trouble.
- Make that call. In this day and age, nearly everyone has a cell phone. Put that talk plan to good use and start calling for help. Did you know most insurance carriers have some kind of roadside assistance plan included in your policy? Check your insurance card for the assistance number.
- Air your dirty laundry. Normally it is not advised to let all your problems hang out in the open, but in this case you want others to know what is going on. Turning on your hazard lights is a great first step, but it doesn’t always signal to others you are having car troubles. You could be off to the side of the road to send that ever important “LOL”. If you can get out of your car safely, do so. Raise the hood of your car or set up a couple road flares if you have them.
- Stay where you are! Once you’ve set the flares and raised the hood, get back in your car and stay with it. If you’ve taken advantage of your roadside assistance program, you’ll need to be with the vehicle when they show up to help. Also, pedestrians on a busy road are a bad idea.
- Don’t be a hero. Unless you are actually a mechanic, don’t take this opportunity to flex your automotive muscles. If the problem is something obvious, like a flat tire or a loose battery cable, and you have the know how to solve the problem, by all means, solve away. Otherwise, leave it to the professionals.
- Think before you act. Just taking a second to think through the problem can save you time and money. Let’s say, hypothetically, you decided to ignore the “FUEL LEVEL LOW” warning light and ended up stranded on a quiet back road in the middle of the day where you’re familiar with your surroundings. In this instance you could probably head out on foot to the 7-11 you know is right around the corner. However, if you are out of gas on a busy highway, this might not be the time to see how quickly you can walk 8 miles.
- Stranger Danger. Some things never change. Your mom taught you this in kindergarten, and if she were writing this, she would teach it to you today. There are absolutely good people in the world who would be happy to help you. You don’t need to turn people down, but you do need to be smart about the help you accept. Remember, don’t leave your vehicle and don’t get in a car with strangers! If someone offers to give you a ride to a nearby gas station, see if they’d be willing to make the trip without you and return with some gas instead. Having a self-protection plan in place ahead of time is important. Keep a container of pepper spray in your car at all times. Make sure you grab the pepper spray before you step out of your vehicle. Keep it in your hand as your self-defense plan in case things go south.
While no one wants to deal with a broken down car, having a plan in place ahead of time will help you stay calm and think clearly. Take your first step now, check #7 off the list by purchasing pepper spray from Self Secure Products and solidifying your self-protection plan.