There are various reasons why individuals need to be prepared for a roadside breakdown, no matter what time of year we are discussing. Vehicles can break down during the summer just as easily as they can during the winter months, and it is crucial for individuals to have the materials and knowledge required to remain safe if a breakdown does occur and safety may not be close. If you are injured during a roadside breakdown, call our Houston car accident lawyer for legal advice.
Initial Steps After a Breakdown
Are you in a safe location? Do you need to get out of the vehicle?
There are so many variables that must be taken into account, and these variables change depending on the roadway, weather, and type of year. There is no way to give a blanket statement such as “simply stay put in your vehicle” without examining all the factors related to your particular situation.
If the car breaks down and is still in the roadway (either fully or partially), it is important to get out of the vehicle so as to avoid being injured in a collision. If a vehicle is safely off the roadway, individuals should make the vehicle as visible as possible to others. This includes using the hazard lights as well as flares, hazard triangles, or warning lights from a roadside emergency kit (see below). Drivers can also use a white piece of cloth hanging outside of the window or door closest to the road.
Drivers and passengers should stay inside the vehicle and wait for assistance if possible (this may not be possible if temperatures rise too high and there is no air conditioning available). Keep the doors locked if inside the vehicle, and be wary of accepting help from strangers. If you do have to exit the vehicle, stay away from moving traffic.
Roadside Assistance Programs
Use a phone to call for assistance. If there is an emergency, call 911 immediately and let them know where you are and what the problem is.
You may have a roadside assistance program available to help. This can include AAA and can also include services offered by many auto insurance companies. We encourage all drivers to have at least one roadside assistance program available that they can call if they experience a roadside breakdown. These services can assist with a variety of emergencies, including blown tires, dead batteries, and fuel issues. If the vehicle must be towed to a mechanic, most of these programs will allow the driver and maybe a passenger to accompany them to the facility. However, it may be wiser to ask a friend, family member, or rideshare service to help if the vehicle must be towed.
Get a Roadside Emergency Kit
We encourage all drivers to have an emergency roadside kit in their vehicles, either one purchased with the proper tools or one put together by the driver. The emergency kit should be tailored to the weather in the driver’s geographic area. Some of the items that should be included in any emergency roadside kit include:
A first-aid kit
Bottled water and nonperishable snacks
Clean, empty, refillable gas jug
Road flares, hazard triangles, or lights
Pencil and notepad
You can purchase a roadside emergency kit online or in many retail stores.