Imagine this scenario.
You’re out of town, maybe on vacation or business or just visiting a friend. You are driving down the road. You’re taking a slower route, seeing the sights and taking it all in at a relaxed pace. As you’re driving, your car suddenly breaks down, or something gets damaged by random things on the road.
How do you handle it?
Most responsible drivers know how to manage breakdowns. They have a mechanic they trust. They have insurance to cover most costs. They even have a membership with some manner of service that can get them the assistance they need on the road.
However, not all of these are present when you’re outside your usual stomping grounds. Well, here’s how you can get help, even when you’re far from home. It’s surprisingly similar to the process for any breakdown, just with a few shifts and nuances.
First, you’ll need to pack a few things. The key to surviving any emergency – from a breakdown to a hurricane throwing a tree into your living room – is preparation.
Flares are useful, for those times when you have a breakdown in an isolated place. You’ll also need a roadside emergency kit. Finally, there is nothing more useful for these situations than your mobile phone, especially if it can get reliable internet connections.
No matter what happens, you’ll want to pull over in a safe area.
You don’t want to be on the road. This is true whether you suddenly need a new wind screen Perth or if you hear the pop of a punctured tire. By doing this, you minimise the risk of you becoming the start of an accident site.
If you can’t get off the road, turn on your hazard lights. This is when you’ll need your phone to call for help, whether it’s emergency services, roadside assistance, or your cousin Larry who lives nearby.
You’ll also want to alert other motorists. They might help.
Flash your emergency lights. Lift your car’s hood – the universal sign of a motorist in trouble. If it’s dark, use your road flares.
You’d be surprised at how friendly people you meet are. More than once, I’ve managed to get back on the road just on the kindness of strangers. Even leather-wearing, tough guy bikers will lend a hand if you’re friendly, polite, and don’t make assumptions.
There is also the off-chance that someone who passes by knows who you can call for help, even if they can’t help you themselves. Local knowledge and recommendations can be a huge boon, especially if you’re pressed for time and can’t be sure if you’re going to a shop you can trust.
At the very least, telling other motorists, you have a breakdown lets them avoid you. That’s common courtesy and could save lives by preventing an accident.
Call for roadside assistance.
If your provider doesn’t cover the area you’re in, go online. Find a local provider for the service you need, whether it’s installing a replacement tire or refilling the tank so you can get back on the road.