If you are driving out of town, the last thing that you want is for your car to break down. While any car trouble is always unwelcome, breaking down on the highway or on a quiet, secluded road is frightening and potentially very dangerous to you and your passengers. If your car breaks down out of town, there are a number of things that you should do.
According to the nature of the mechanical failure, if you are driving on the highway and your car starts to break down, then try and get your vehicle onto a quieter road, or at least an exit ramp or the shoulder of the highway. Turn your hazard lights on straight away and take extra care when maneuvering across different lanes. If you are driving on a rural road, try to ensure that you stop your car where visibility is good in both directions. Avoid sharp bends, for example. In all cases, try and use the momentum of the vehicle to get you to safety if your power is rapidly failing.
If your vehicle is safely out of the way of traffic, stay inside your car with the doors locked.
Only leave your vehicle if your car is on fire or at risk of being hit by other vehicles. If you must leave your car, remember to leave the vehicle via the right-hand side, away from traffic. Move away from your car immediately, being sure to stay entirely off the road or highway so that there is plenty of distance between you, the vehicle, and traffic. Ensure that you leave your hazard lights on, and, if possible, wear bright or reflective clothing that will be picked up by other car headlights. Spend as little time as possible collecting items from the car.
It is best not to attempt even simple repairs on the vehicle, unless the car is well away from other moving traffic. You may be comfortable changing a tire, for example, but if this means that you must position yourself close to moving traffic, then this is almost certainly too dangerous to attempt. The car engine is likely to be very hot, and you run the risk of burning yourself by working on any parts. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, you could make a small problem worse.
If you have a mobile phone with you, call the service department of the nearest dealership or emergency breakdown service and arrange for help. Give good directions by observing any landmarks, or referencing road signs if you can see them. Remember that many smartphones are now equipped with GPS, which you can use via applications like Google Maps to pinpoint your exact location. If you have children, or you are a lone female, alert the dealership or breakdown service to this fact to ensure that you are attended as quickly as possible.
If you do not have a mobile phone (or if there is no signal), then you will need to find assistance nearby. Try not to separate if you are traveling in a group, and walk together to find help. If you are traveling alone, be wary of other drivers offering assistance. Any genuine, reasonable Samaritan will be happy to call for help for you without you having to get in the vehicle with them.
Breaking down isn’t just inconvenient. It can be frightening and dangerous, too. As soon as you become aware that there is a problem with your car, get it to a safe position and then call for assistance as quickly as you possibly can, thinking about your personal safety at all times.