Do’s and Don’ts to Follow When Your Car Breaks Down

While some drivers have been through car breakdowns, others have no idea what to do when this happens. It can be overwhelming and scary when your car suddenly stops working, especially if there wasn’t an incident that caused the problem.

Do you need to call the police? Should you contact your insurance while you’re sitting on the side of the road to get help?

You have many options, but not every choice is going to be the right one in this situation. Today, review these dos and don’ts to learn more about how to handle a car breakdown appropriately.

Do: Prepare in Advance

You’re already on the right track by being here reading this article. Every driver that hasn’t dealt with a car breakdown before needs to consider what they will do if they are in this situation. Young drivers, in particular, may not know what to do when your car breaks down on the side of the road. Do you start walking, wave down another vehicle for help, or handle things differently?

By thinking about this in advance and having a plan of action, you’ll be better equipped to handle this unfortunate scenario. Keep reading to keep preparing!

Don’t: Move Too Much if You Are Injured

If your car breakdown was caused by an accident or the issue caused you to crash, consider whether or not you may have sustained any injuries before you get out of your car and start to look things over.

Even something as simple as bumping into a barrier at low speeds can cause serious injuries, so you want to consider your own health before you move. Move out of your car if possible and if you are in immediate danger by remaining inside. If you suspect serious injuries, however, talk to a 911 operator before moving. They can recommend the best action.

Speaking of injuries: Do you have bodily injury liability insurance as part of your car insurance plan? You likely do, as it is a requirement in nearly every state at this time.

This type of car insurance coverage covers any bodily injuries to another driver or their passengers in an accident caused by you. Coverage like this will come in handy if your car breaks down and causes a wreck, so it’s good to know this information just in case you ever find yourself in this trying situation.

Do: Call for Help

Even though someone might eventually stop to help you with your vehicle, it’s always best to call for assistance as soon as possible. There are a variety of places that can be called to help you. Who you call is going to depend on where you are, where your car broke down, and what programs you might be a part of.

Here are some ideas of who to call in specific situations:

  • If your car is obstructing traffic:
    Call 911 to alert them as this is a safety hazard to you and other cars. They will send police and other emergency personnel to help move your vehicle so that it does not obstruct traffic and cause additional problems. You can also call a tow truck immediately so that they are on the way as soon as possible.
  • If your car is on the side of the road:
    If your car is not obstructing traffic, you likely do not need to call 911. Instead, call AAA or a local towing company. If you aren’t sure who to call, you may be able to call your insurance company, and they will help to transfer your call to a local tow company.
  • If you have a family member that can help:
    If your problem is something that you believe a family member could help with, go ahead and call them. Keep in mind, however, that you may need to call in a professional as well.

Don’t: Allow Your Car to Be a Hazard

Cars breaking down is actually a common cause of accidents. Whether cars break down in a traffic lane or on the side of the road, their presence can go unnoticed by other motorists and lead to an accident.

Do not allow your broken-down car to become this type of hazard. Make sure that you turn on your hazard lights if possible, and set up flares leading up to your car. This will alert other motorists that there is an obstacle and reduce the overall risk of the situation.

The Do’s and Don’ts List

As you can see, many do’s and don’ts need to be considered when a car breaks down. Going through each in detail isn’t going to be possible in this review. Instead, look over this list and see what you should and should not do. Research anything that you don’t know how to do properly so that you are prepared.

The Do’s

  • Turn on your emergency lights.
  • Turn your wheel away from the road; this will take your car away from traffic instead of into it if you get hit while stopped.
  • Stay in your vehicle unless you are certain that you can safely exit the vehicle without being at risk of injury.
  • Call for help, either 911 or a tow truck, as soon as possible.
  • Set up flares, if available.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t move if you are injured.
  • Don’t leave your car blocking traffic if you are able to start it and slowly move away from traffic.
  • Don’t get out of your vehicle if it is not safe.
  • Don’t abandon your vehicle on the side of the road.