Road safety rules have changed over the past few years. If your car breaks down, here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
What would you do if your car broke down? Just a few short decades ago, you didn’t have a phone in your car, so you probably had no choice but to put your hood up and wave someone down to help you. You may have been lucky and had a police officer stop to offer assistance, but it was still a big risk to take.
Thankfully, most of us now have cellphones and are able to call for help right away. But what do you do while you wait?
I once broke down in the middle of the night, alone, on a long stretch of highway, with no lights and no nearby exit. I called for AAA, but help was an hour away. A car stopped and a man came to my window and offered to help. Needless to say, I was quite nervous and I did not open my door or unlock my window. I told him, through the glass, that I was waiting for assistance. He waited in his car behind me, with his lights on to keep us visible to passing cars until emergency assistance arrived. What an angel. Eventually, a State Police cruiser stopped and they helped me get to the closest gas station. I was lucky to have a phone and to have nice people come to my aid, but the important thing is that I stayed in my car, with the doors locked.
Women on Wheels has some invaluable tips on what to do if your car conks out on you. You might even want to print this list out and put it in your glove compartment. Just in case!
Here’s a snapshot of what to do if your car breaks down:
- Use your hazards.
- Pull as far onto the shoulder as possible, stay in the car and lock the doors.
- Keep your car visible.
- If you can’t pull over, carefully get out of the car and move to a safe place.
- Call for professional emergency assistance.
- Give location information and tell them you are broken down and vulnerable.
- Don’t flag down other motorists.
- Don’t attempt repairs.
- Don’t open your hood.
- Wait and watch for emergency assistance.
- Don’t accept help from anyone other than a uniformed emergency professional.
Visit Women on Wheels for more important information, including what to keep in your car in case of emergency.
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