Safety Tips for Breakdown and Roadside Emergencies

Safety Tips for Breakdown and Roadside Emergencies

Experiencing a roadside breakdown and emergencies can cause immense panic and frustration. And if you don’t have much knowledge on what to do next, here are quick tips that will help you get yourself and those around you to safety.

If you had an accident needing immediate medical attention, call 911 for an ambulance without delay. Remember to follow their instructions while waiting for care.
Get your car safely off the road
In case the breakdown happens while you are driving (e.g. you had a flat tire, your vehicle overheats, or your engine stopped running), gradually slow down and steer towards the side of the road (or if there is a breakdown lane) and park. Ensure that as you do so, turn on the hazard lights. Carefully pay attention to your mirrors for traffic if you need to change lanes.

Put up necessary road breakdown notices
One thing you can do immediately, as mentioned in the first tip, is to turn on the hazard lights. This will immediately notify other vehicles of your emergency. And immediately after, if the situation permits, place warning or emergency triangles where they are needed, depending on where you are (on an interstate, on a curved road, on a one-way road, or on a hill).

Know where your location is
Knowing your location will help speed up the arrival of assistance. Here are some ways that can help identify where you are:

  • Check your GPS
  • Look for the nearest landmark (gas stations, restaurant, shopping mall, etc.)
  • Look for the nearest mile marker or any numbered signs on the roads

If you are in an unfamiliar or deemed unsafe location, make sure to stay inside the car – unless it’s dangerous to stay in the vehicle (leaking oil, extreme overheating, etc.).
If you can’t stay inside, stay away from the road or stay behind road barriers, if there are. Make sure that your car is still in sight.

Evaluate and respond accordingly to the problem of your vehicle

  • Flat tire: If you have a spare tire and necessary tools, and if you KNOW how to change a tire, make sure first that the area is safe for such work.

If you are in an expressway with fast moving cars, it’s best to have help from professionals.

  • Empty fuel: If your fuel gauge shows you have no fuel left, and you don’t have gas on-hand, don’t be tempted to get out of your car and start walking towards a gas station. Unless, of course, if the gas station is within sight of the car.
  • Discharged battery, engine and mechanical problems: Unless you are a professional yourself, and you have the tools to repair such problems, then you can proceed with caution. However, if you’re not, please leave it to the experts.

Call for roadside assistance
If you have evaluated that the vehicle is beyond your capabilities to fix, then you need to call roadside assistance. As you wait, it is still best to stay inside the car, if the situation permits it.

Stay calm in these kinds of situations. And to minimize the chances of these from happening, have your vehicle go through regular maintenance, and ALWAYS examine it before driving off.

​Check here for what you should never leave in a hot car