Roadside Tips for Breakdown

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Be safe while you wait for assistance

The tragic scenario is all too common: a motorist whose car has broken down is struck by another vehicle as he tries to inspect the problem.  Whether you’re in a minor fender bender or are experiencing engine  troubles, it’s important to remember some basic tips to prevent injury  and keep safe. Statistics show that more than 15 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur on highways, where fast-moving traffic is the norm.

In the event of a collision or vehicle breakdown, you can avoid becoming  another unfortunate statistic by following these guidelines.

Preparedness and Prevention

  • Routine maintenance can help ensure your vehicle is in good  working condition. Always check your lights, brakes, windshield wipers,  belts and ensure your oil is topped off.
  • Have emergency contacts programmed in your phone, whether it’s a friend, family member or your roadside assistance provider.
  • Keep a cell phone charger in your vehicle
  • Equip  your vehicle with a basic safety kit including: jumper cables,  reflective triangles or orange cones, a car jack, rope, first aid kit  and an instant tire inflator.

Call for assistance

If your car is seriously damaged in a collision or won’t run, call for  help as soon as possible. If you are in a dangerous neighborhood and  don’t have emergency roadside assistance, call the police and remain in  your vehicle.

Make yourself visible

Visibility is essential to staying safe, especially on busy highways  where the average speed is 70mph. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights  and activate emergency flares if you have them.

Move to safety

Try and move your vehicle off the road and as far away from traffic as  possible. This may be an emergency lane, or the very far side of the  shoulder. If you are on a heavily trafficked interstate or freeway, try  and make it to the nearest highway exit. If you are unable to move your  vehicle away from traffic and worry that you may be struck from behind,  carefully exit the car and move to a safer locale. Open the car hood so  police or tow trucks will know roadside assistance is needed.

Roadside personal safety

Standing next to, in front of or behind a broken-down vehicle is a  recipe for disaster, warn AAA experts. If there is no danger of another  vehicle striking your own, it is safer to remain inside until help  arrives—especially when you’re surrounded by fast-moving traffic.

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Collecting information

If you were involved in an accident, remain with the vehicle until the  police arrive. Be sure to gather information from other motorists  involved, including their full names, address, policy number and license  plate numbers.

Program your phone

Program your cell phone with emergency numbers, including that of your  roadside assistance provider, and keep a backup written list in your  glove compartment.

Be careful of strangers

Your parents probably told you this a  thousand times, but it’s important to keep in mind. There are plenty of  great people out there eager to help people in trouble. However, there  are also a handful of bad people out there that can put you in danger.  If a stranger pulls over and offers to help you, it’s probably best to  remain in the car with your doors locked. You can roll down the window  slightly and tell them help is on the way. Call the police if need be.  Unfortunately, we need to be more careful with people these days, so  please remember, safety first! 

Use common sense

Everyone’s experience is a little  different when it comes to vehicles breaking down. It depends on where  you are, the time of day, what you’re driving, and the problem. It’s  important to know what’s going on around you while the vehicle is  stopped.