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Stuff Happens: Here’s What to Do if Your Vehicle Breaks Down


You take good care of your vehicle. You’re careful to follow the maintenance guidelines recommended by your owner’s manual and you have a standing weekly date at the local car wash. It seems like nothing can go wrong.

Not so fast. Unfortunately, even though you’re doing everything right, STUFF happens. Here’s what you’ll need to remember if you experience a breakdown.

1. Get your vehicle off the road.

Being sure to use your turn signal, safely pull off the road as quickly as you can. Move as far away from traffic as you can and pay attention to your location.

Never try to push your car to the side of the road and always use your hazard lights. If you don’t feel like you’re safe waiting in your vehicle, get out and go to a safer location.

2. Make sure your car’s visible.

It’s important that your vehicle can be easily seen by other motorists, including whatever roadside assistance vehicle is coming to your aid.

Other than your hazard lights, it may even be necessary to use a road flare if you have one in your emergency kit. If all else fails, tie something brightly colored to your vehicle’s door handle.

3. Assess the problem.

Do you notice any particular smells or strange sounds coming from your car? Is your vehicle pull to one side or handle differently than it normally does? This information will be helpful to the roadside assistance crew that comes for you.

4. Call for help.

If you’ve been in an accident – or you break down on a busy highway – your first call should be to 911. If you simply need to call for roadside assistance, be prepared to give them your location, a description of your vehicle, and what was happening to your car when it broke down.

You’ll also want to give them a head’s up if you have a unique situation like a large number of passengers, for example. Let a family member or friend know your whereabouts, too.

5. Keep yourself safe.

When your car breaks down, you’re in a vulnerable position.

    Here’s how to keep yourself safe:
  • If you have to get out of your car, do so on the side that’s facing away from traffic. Make sure you’re visible to other drivers. If it’s dark, use a flashlight.
  • If it’s safe for you to remain in your vehicle, lock the windows and doors, but don’t leave the car running. You’ll put yourself at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you have little ones with you, keep them safely buckled in.
  • Be careful who you trust. If someone attempts to give you a hand, ask for identification and let someone else know who they are.

Be prepared

Even the most carefully maintained vehicle can break down or be involved in an accident. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation.

Get your vehicle off the roadway, make sure it’s visible, assess the problem, call for help, and take steps to protect yourself.

A mechanic is a trusted resource to ensure your vehicle won’t give you any trouble on your summer trips.

Need help keeping your car in tip-top shape? Trust the skilled mechanics at your local Conrad’s. Give us a call today!.

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