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What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down While Driving

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It's scary when you're driving down the road and your car starts acting up. You might experience anything from sputtering, to a tire blowout, or a screeching grinding noise of metal on metal. No matter what is happening to your car, your foremost concern must be to ensure your own safety.

  1. First, turn on your hazard lights and keep them on.
  2. Coast or drive your vehicle into the far right hand lane. Your goal is to pull off onto the breakdown lane or berm so your vehicle is out of the way of other traffic.
  3. Roll down your driver side window slightly and insert a white cloth, such as a napkin, so that it is showing toward the roadway. Roll up the window to keep it in place. The white cloth is a universal symbol of distress.
  4. Exit your vehicle from the passenger side, or the side away from the road.
  5. Place cones or LED emergency lights from an auto emergency pack, several feet away and behind your vehicle. This will help alert oncoming traffic that your vehicle is present.
  6. If you have a flat tire on the side of the car nearest the roadway, do not attempt to change it without assistance. You never want to turn your back to oncoming traffic.
  7. If the engine is the source of your trouble, you can lift the engine hood. This will further attract attention from other drivers and let them know your car is disabled.
  8. Look for roadways signs that indicate what mile marker you are nearest to. This will help roadside assistance drivers locate you easily.
  9. Call for assistance. The operator may be able to out you in contact with a police officer, who can further help you contact a roadside assistance company in the area, like Ragans Mac Auto Sales And Service.
  10. If a passing motorist stops to offer help, be cordial but cautious. If you've already called for roadside assistance, you can explain the situation, and the motorist can be on their way. If you have no choice but to accept the motorist's help, maintain a safe distance at all times, keep your wallet or purse on your person, and pay attention to any feeling you have that anything is amiss. If you feel you might be in danger, flag down another motorist for back up and ask them to call the authorities.

Remember, if your car breaks down on the road, take care of your own personal safety first, and then the car.