No matter how well you keep your car, or how good a driver you are, breakdowns can always happen. And, when they do, it can be a stressful event that can cause plenty of panic. The trick, of course, is to have a gameplan in place for when the inevitable happens. In this guide, we’re going to take you through everything you need to do to get through any breakdown scenario. Let’s get started with some of the basics.
Be proactive not reactive
Of course, the best way to avoid a breakdown is to take care of your car properly. Make sure that you are servicing your vehicle at least once a year – twice for older cars. An MOT will tell you if your vehicle is roadworthy – but only the legal bare minimum. An MOT will not pick up one of the multitudes of problems that exist in cars that can often develop into something more serious. Only a service will do that – so keep in touch with your local mechanic and visit them with some regularity. There are things you can do with your vehicle, too. Change the oil under the manufacturer’s guidelines, and keep your tyres inflated to the right pressure. Also, keep your car clean – it will help prevent rust and keep you motivated to look after your wheels.
So, as we have already said, breakdowns can happen even for careful owners. The big question is – what should you do when it occurs to you? The first thing on your mind should be safety. As soon as you can, put on your hazard lights to let other drivers know you have a problem. If your car is slowing down, try and navigate to the side of the road – although it might not be possible. If it is safe to get out of the car, do so – and make sure that all the passengers get out safely, too. Other cars should stop behind you, so get out as soon as soon as you can. One thing to be aware of is that your vehicle is now a danger to be in, and many people have been seriously injured after staying in a broken down car. Wait at the side of the road, beyond any barriers – regardless of the weather.
If you are on a busy or dangerous road, you should call the police. The area will be dangerous, and your car will be a risk for other drivers. The police may need to set up bollards, and will be essential in keeping you safe. However, it is still going to be your responsibility to call for help. What that help is, of course, is down to your problem. A blown out tyre can be solved by a mobile tyre fitting service. Out of fuel? Your breakdown cover should get someone to you quickly. If you are without a phone, it’s a case of walking to the nearest emergency telephone – they will give you everything you need.
What happens if your car is caput? Well, it all depends on how much you pay for your breakdown cover. Tow trucks won’t come cheap, so expect to pay a lot of money if you don’t have any cover at all. Your best bet is to get to the nearest convenient place and leave your car there for the time being. A taxi cab to your end destination will be much cheaper than getting a tow all the way. You should be prepared to wait, too – which can cause problems if you have children. However, most breakdown and towing services will break their backs to get to you as quickly as possible when you have young children.
Once you are back home, there is still a lot to do. You will need to arrange for your car to be fixed if it hasn’t been already. Of course, if it’s a write-off, then you will need to consider getting a new one – which isn’t going to be cheap. One thing you will do is consider why you didn’t pay out that little extra for a better insurance policy. Or, why you kept those breakdown payments to a bare minimum. Breaking down on any road – especially on a motorway miles from home – is an expensive business. So, it’s worth checking out your cover now, before anything happens.
Have you ever had a terrible experience when you have broken down on a busy road? Let us know about it and join in on the conversation!
Image Credit: Graham Richardson
It’s a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself.