You’re driving on the highway in some unknown, deserted area and there’s no one else on the road. All of a sudden, your engine light comes on, smoke begins to bellow from under the hood and your engine seizes, or maybe your tire blows-out. It’s one of your worst nightmares – your car is breaking down. This can be a scary and difficult situation that can happen to anyone, but not everyone knows what to do next. Here are four simple steps to follow when your car breaks down on the highway.
If you can feel (or see) a change in your vehicle’s performance and you think you may break down, start to decrease your speed but don’t slam on the breaks. When faced with a breakdown, many drivers panic and come to a sudden halt, which can cause accidents and may reduce your ability to maneuver your car. Gradually slow down and safely steer your vehicle to the shoulder of the highway.
Use Your Emergency and/or Turn Signals
All cars come equipped with emergency hazard lights. At the first sign of trouble, turn-on your hazard lights to signal to other drivers that you’re having car trouble and need to pull over. This is particularly true at night and in inclement weather when it’s harder to see.
While making your way to the shoulder of the highway (if there is no shoulder, get as far off the highway/away from lane(s) of traffic as possible), make sure to use your turn signals. Many drivers forget to signal their lane changes because they panic during a car breakdown. This can cause accidents.
Make Sure You’re Seen
Once you have safely maneuvered your car off the highway, you need make sure you and your car are seen by other highway motorists. Leave your hazard lights on. If there is a roadside emergency kit in your car, it should contain reflector triangles and flares you can place around your car. If you do not have a kit, pop the hood of your car and try to tie a white cloth on the antennae or sports rack of your car.
If you need to exit your vehicle, check your surroundings for oncoming traffic and other dangers before opening your door. Try to wear reflective or bright colored clothing, especially at night, to ensure motorists can see you. Always stay off the roadway and out of the lanes of traffic.
Call For Help
Before you decide to walk anywhere, try to call for help. Most, if not all of us have cellphones these days, and many vehicles have roadside assistance services built-in (like OnStar). Whether you call AAA, OnStar, or a friend, try to remain in your vehicle until help arrives.
By staying calm and following these simple steps, you will be more prepared for a breakdown on the highway and can prevent a bad situation from ending a lot worse. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on the highway, or any other type of accident, you need a personal injury attorney that knows the law and will get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Board Certified Personal Injury attorney Bryan Caulfield today at (727) 796-8282.