When it comes to car problems, it’s easy for one to panic and think of the worst-case scenario. If you are prepared and have a plan, however, a breakdown does not have to be the worst thing that can happen to you. Keep in mind the following 10 steps and rest assured that you will stay safe when your car breaks down on the road. Also be sure to check our list of 9 unsafe cars currently on the road right here to see if yours is one of them!
1. Brake Gently and Turn On Hazard Lights
If and when your car happens to break down, be sure to signal to other drivers and come to a gradual rather than a sudden stop. Do not attempt to cross multiple lanes and always shoulder check.
2. If the Engine Dies On the Road, Don’t Get Out
If the engine on your Toyota RAV4 dies all of a sudden and you don’t have enough momentum to get off the road, steer away from the main lane as much as you can and stay put. Sitting in a dead vehicle with traffic piling up behind you is unnerving, but attempting to cross a freeway on foot is dangerous.
3. Get Your Car Off the Road
If you are able to, get your car off the road and onto the shoulder as soon as possible. This will minimize the risk of impact from incoming traffic and give other drivers space to avoid your stranded vehicle.
4. Call for Help
If you have a roadside assistance provider, give them a call. If you don’t, call for a tow truck or call 9-1-1, if you need further assistance.
5. Let Other Drivers Know Your Car is Broken
Be sure to have signals in place to ensure other drivers know your car has broken down. Your blinking hazard lights are a great start, but if you have road flares available, that’s even better. Place a couple of them about 50 feet behind your car and that should do just fine!
6. Don’t Venture Away From Your Car
If your car has broken down, it’s almost always best if you stay with your vehicle. First, if you’ve called for roadside assistance, they typically can’t do anything to a vehicle without the driver present. Secondly, as already mentioned, roads and freeways are dangerous places for people on foot.
7. Exercise Caution and Common Sense
Depending on the type of breakdown, use your best judgement to decide what to do. If it seems like a major issue, there is not much you can do but wait. However, if for instance you ran out of gas and you’re certain there’s a gas station nearby, you can simply walk over and get some gas yourself since you know the solution to your problem.
8. Wait For Assistance Instead of Attempting a Repair Yourself
If there is a big breakdown, don’t tinker with your car and try to fix things yourself. If you get a flat tire, do not attempt to change it unless you can get to the side of the road and the tire is on the side of the vehicle that’s safely away from traffic.
9. Stay Hydrated If It’s a Major Breakdown
If you are stranded for several hours, be sure to have emergency supplies in your Mazda 3 and keep yourself hydrated.
10. Get the Issue Looked Into Fully to Prevent Future Breakdowns
If you have engine or transmission problems that caused the breakdown, don’t ignore the underlying issue and hope the problem won’t occur again. Be proactive with maintenance and repair and your vehicle will run much smoother and break down less often.
There you have it. Follow the 10 steps above, use your best judgement and you shall emerge out of the breakdown victorious, driving in your car away once again.