So, the worst has happened, and you have broken down by the roadside and now need to await roadside assistance to show up.
Wherever this happens, whether it is at home, here, in Edmonton Canada or further afield, it is a real pain and of course the timing is always second to none.
For some reason, these things have a nasty habit of happening in either floods of rain, snow or hail, or some other apocalyptic weather condition. Or they pick the edge of nowhere, in the land that time forgot, to happen in.
It could be some time before the recovery vehicle can get down to you – so now what?
What should you do next, whilst you wait your turn to be rescued?
For your own safety – and that of everyone else on the road – we really urge you to read on and follow these tips.
- REMAIN WITH YOUR VEHICLE
Sometimes, people think that it is safer or somehow a better idea to get out of their car, than remain in it.
This is very rarely the case.
Although there may be some extreme circumstances when it is necessary to abandon your vehicle, the general advice is to stay with – better still, actually inside – your car.
You are not advised to stand by the roadside, usually, because this could result in a collision i.e. actually being hit by an oncoming vehicle.
So, remember, if you are broken down, try and sit tight and await the recovery vehicle, unless there really are some extreme circumstances or you have been advised otherwise by the emergency services.
- PARK UP SOMEWHERE SAFE
If it is at all possible, you should steer your dying car towards the shoulder, or some other safe place to park.
The operative word here is safe. That means somewhere like an emergency lane, a rest stop or somewhere else where you will not be an obstruction to the flow of the traffic.
It does not mean a free pass to park on corners and other hazardous areas.
Of course, there may be times when you can’t do much about where you break down, but you can try and make the best of a bad situation and steer your car toward safety as much as possible.
- BE VISIBLE
As much as possible, you need to appear as visible as you can do to the oncoming traffic.
Unfortunately, if you have broken down at night, or in bad weather, possibly foggy conditions, this can be tricky.
Even hazard lights may not be quite enough to alert other road users to your presence.
If you have got flares, warning triangles and so forth, this is the time to use them. You may also have to consider sounding your horn in an emergency, to let other vehicles know that you are there.
- BE PREPARED
Although you might not be able to do much about the fact you have broken down, you can at least be prepared for the eventuality.
This means keeping an emergency kit in your car, full of items such as a first aid kit, spare phone and charger, flares, flashlight, shovel, warm clothing and extra food and drink.
On top of that don’t forget kit like spare tires, a jack, jump leads and some tools.
- GET OUT SAFELY
One final word – make sure you exit the car safely.
This means not opening the door onto oncoming traffic. If you have to shuffle up to the passenger seat to get out safely, then do that.
Take care when you break down at the roadside and wait for your recovery vehicle in safety!!!