Breaking down on a busy highway can be one of the most stressful situations. Not only is your day incredibly inconvenienced, but it can also be dangerous.
Although owning a new car may make you feel more confident, statistics show that drivers are breaking down more than ever. The advanced warning systems and alerts are nice, but increased electronics and technology can lead to more problems.
Regardless of if you’re driving an older car or a newer car, you need to know what to do if your car breaks down on the highway. How do you stay safe? Who do you call?
What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down on the Highway
Breaking down anywhere, whether it’s a grocery store parking lot or in the middle of the highway can easily disrupt and ruin your day. However, the way you go about handling the situation is incredibly important for fixing your car, getting you back on the road, and keeping you safe.
Keep reading for a step by step guide on what to do if your car breaks down on the highway.
1. Pull the Car Onto the Shoulder of the Highway
As soon as you notice something is wrong with the car, turn on your turn signal so you can safely proceed to the side of the highway or the shoulder. This can occur for many reasons, such as:
- The engine starts smoking
- You blow a tire
- The car dies
- You’re running out of fuel
Your goal should be to get the car as far out of harm’s way as possible without worsening your situations (driving into a ditch, grinding into a guard rail, etc.).
2. Turn on Your Hazard Lights
If you haven’t already, you now need to turn on your hazard lights. We don’t advise this immediately after you notice a problem, as it could distract you from pulling the car over safely. However, once pulled over, you need to make yourself more visible to other drivers and indicate that your car is broken down.
3. Stay Calm
Now, you have a moment to collect yourself. Stay calm and don’t allow yourself to be overcome with emotions such as panic, anger, frustration, fear, etc. Take deep breaths in and out as you count down from 30 if you feel yourself getting worked up.
Remember, this happens all the time, you’re going to be okay.
4. Decide Whether or Not You Need to Get Out
If possible, we recommend staying in the car with your seatbelt on, windows up, and doors locked for your own safety. You’re much more visible and safer in a car than on foot on a busy highway. The exception would be if you feel like staying in the car is more dangerous.
5. Call the Professionals
Finally, you need to call the professionals to come to help you with your car. Even if you know how to swap out a flat tire with your spare, doing so on the side of the highway may be too dangerous. Let a professional flat tire service handle it.
However, they can also give your battery a jump, replace a faulty battery, tow you to safety, etc. Additionally, a professional roadside service can provide further insight into what to do if your car breaks down on the highway.
Need Roadside Assistance?
If you’re in a sticky situation and need help with roadside assistance, we can help, even if it means walking you through what to do if your car breaks down on the highway. However, our services in Arizona and New Mexico exist to help stranded drivers with everything from fuel delivery and battery replacement to flat tires and towing.