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Car Trouble?

  • by Jim
  • January 22, 2016

7 Things to Remember When Your Car Breaks Down

Winter driving poses a variety of hazards including deep snow drifts, icy patches and cold engines. These added hazards and stressors can take their toll on your vehicle and you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road. To help you get through a breakdown safely and efficiently here are 7 things you should keep in mind.

  1. First, get your vehicle off the road
    If your vehicle is movable you should do your best to get off to the side of the road. Gently move your vehicle onto the shoulder or median, put the vehicle in park and engage your emergency brake. When you park turn your tires away from the road. That way, if your vehicle does roll it won’t roll out into traffic. Once you are settled turn on your hazard lights. If your vehicle is stuck and you can’t move it, put it in park, engage your emergency brake and put your hazard lights on.

  2. Call for help
    Most people have cellphones, so calling for help should be fairly straightforward. Call a trusted friend or family member and let them know about the situation. They will want to know that you are alright. Next, you should call a roadside assistance service (such as AMA) or a reputable towing company. Though you may be tempted to ask an amateur (such as a friend with a truck) to conduct the tow they may end up causing even more damage to your vehicle. Amateurs are also unlikely to have the proper equipment or knowledge to tow a vehicle safely, and may end up injuring someone.

  3. Let other drivers know you are in trouble
    To ensure that other drivers know you are in trouble raise your hood and consider setting up a pop up pylon or other safety hazard in addition to turning on your hazard lights. Many emergency vehicle kits are packaged in bright red containers and adorned with reflective tape. Place the emergency kit on your vehicle or in another prominent position so that oncoming traffic can see it clearly.

  4. Stay near the vehicle
    There are two reasons you should stay in or near your vehicle. First, you have told your loved ones and the tow truck where you are and moving from that position makes it more difficult for them to find you. Also, towing companies and other roadside assistance services typically cannot move the vehicle unless the driver is present. The other reason to stay near or in your vehicle is that busy roads are dangerous places for pedestrians. Staying in your vehicle will protect you better if you get hit. However, if you were unable to move your vehicle off the road then you should exit the vehicle and stand on the nearby median. That way if your vehicle is struck you will be safely out of the way.

  5. Avoid the temptation of Do It Yourself roadside auto repair
    Even if you have some experience with engines it is unlikely you will have the necessary tools at hand to conduct proper repairs. Even something as seemingly straightforward as a flat tire can be tricky, even under ideal conditions. If you have never changed a tire before it is safer for you to leave the problem to the professionals unless the situation becomes dire. If you do know how to change a tire then you should still proceed with caution. Crouching under your car makes it harder for other drivers to see you and could put you in danger. Ideally wait until a police officer shows up so that there is someone there to slow down and redirect traffic. If you can, just wait for a professional.

  6. Use common sense
    No two breakdowns are ever the same. Basic guidelines will assist you, but you should ultimately do what your judgment dictates is best in the current situation. If you are stranded out in the middle of nowhere and you just passed a town or gas station you may choose to leave your vehicle and proceed towards civilization. If you do choose to leave your vehicle call your loved ones and the tow truck driver and let them know where you are going so they can easily find you.

  7. Be wary of strangers
    Even though most people you encounter will likely just be good Samaritans that are happy to lend a hand there is always the risk that someone might try and take advantage of the situation and cause you harm. If a stranger pulls over and offers to help stay in the vehicle with the doors locked. Roll down the window and tell them that help is on the way. Most people will understand your caution. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe call the police immediately.

For more safety tips, or to request a tow, contact All J Towing today at 403.273.4680 and visit

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