4 Tips For Getting Through A Highway Breakdown
Highway breakdowns are dangerous. Unlike breakdowns on surface streets, there are rarely any good locations to pull your car off the road on the highway. If you're lucky, there may be a breakdown lane or a wide, flat grassy area. If not, you may need to pull off on a relatively narrow soft shoulder that can expose you to high-speed traffic.
Fortunately, you can take plenty of steps to remain as safe as possible while waiting for a tow truck to arrive. These four tips will not only help protect you but also protect other motorists and your tow truck driver.
1. Don't Take Risks
If you notice the signs of an imminent breakdown, such as rapid overheating or a low oil warning light, don't take risks and attempt to reach the next exit. Although breaking down on the highway is stressful, pushing your car during a severe failure may cause it to break down immediately and leave you stranded in traffic.
Instead, look for the safest possible location and pull off the road immediately. Getting out of traffic and shutting your car off will keep you safe, minimize the risk of costly damage to your vehicle, and make it much easier for your tow truck driver to load your car.
2. Maximize Visibility
You probably know to keep your lights and hazard signals on at night, but what about during the day? The truth is that you need to maximize your visibility regardless of lighting conditions. While you shouldn't leave your car running, especially if it's suffering a mechanical issue, you should always leave your headlights and hazard lights on.
Avoid using flares or hazard triangles unless you're clear of the road. While these devices can be helpful, it's not safe to step out of your vehicle onto the highway to place them.
3. Protect Yourself
Once you pull over, the safest place for you is inside your vehicle. If you need to leave your vehicle for any reason, always exit away from the traffic flow, even if that means exiting from the passenger side of your car. Never stand close to your car in these situations; move away from the road and, if possible, to the opposite side of a guard rail or barrier.
However, remember that you should only exit your vehicle in an emergency. If there's no pressing reason to step outside, stay inside your car and wait for the tow truck to arrive.
4. Know When to Call the Authorities
Breakdowns typically aren't emergencies and don't require a call to the police. However, don't hesitate to make an emergency call if your vehicle breaks down and you cannot pull out of traffic. In these cases, call the police first and a tow truck second. In situations with no immediate danger, it's enough to call for a tow and wait with your vehicle.
Contact a towing service when you are in need, or if you have any questions.