What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down on the Roadway
Breaking down on the roadway is a top fear of nearly any driver. While a properly maintained vehicle is unlikely to break down, cars of all types are susceptible to mechanical problems. Tire and brake issues are some of the most common car problems that cause vehicles to break down. Breaking down on the roadway, especially a busy expressway, can be extremely dangerous. A number of pedestrians have been killed after their vehicles broke down at night across the Atlanta area. Two such deaths occurred this past winter.
The following is a look at some vital steps you should take in order to protect yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle in the event you break down on the roadway. These tips were compiled by car safety advocates at AAA.
- Activate your emergency flashers: When your vehicle is coming to a stop or experiencing a major issue, it is important to immediately notify other drivers. Put on your emergency flashers to warn other drivers to go slow and stay out of your path.
- Get as far off the road as possible: On most roads, you should be able to exit to the shoulder on the far right. If you are in the left lane of a multi-lane highway, you can consider the left shoulder if you cannot reasonably get over. If you must get out of the vehicle to move it over, exercise extreme caution. Never stand behind or directly in front of your vehicle.
- Take note of your vehicle's location and condition: In order to best obtain help, look around you for any landmarks or mile markers. Additionally attempt to assess what went wrong with your vehicle, preferably without exiting the vehicle.
- Call 911, AAA, or other emergency aid: Call the appropriate agency to obtain the assistance you need.
- Remove yourself from the vehicle if the vehicle is stuck in a traffic lane: If your vehicle is disabled in a traffic lane and you cannot move it over, it may be safest to wait completely off the road for emergency assistance. This will mean moving to the grassy area off the highway.
- If you must exit your vehicle, do so from the passenger's side or away from traffic: You should generally not leave your vehicle, but some circumstances require you to do so. In such situations, be sure not to exit in the direction that traffic could approach from behind.
- Put up your hood and lock your doors: If you elect to wait inside your vehicle, keep your emergency flashers on and, if it is safe to do so, put up your hood so as to attract additional attention from vehicles around you. Lock your doors while waiting for emergency assistance.
Please note that every situation is different, and experts may disagree on the best steps to take in a particular situation.
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