Your vehicle is such an important part of your life-used to get to work, shopping, Dr. Appointments, going to special events or to visit friends, among other things. Doesn't it make sense to keep it properly maintained? It is a scary situation to be driving down the road and all of a sudden something goes wrong; a tire blows or the car dies suddenly.
Steps to take
The hard part in an emergency situation is to stay calm and do the safest things. Immediately put on your turning signal to alert other drivers that you are headed to the shoulder of the road, activate your hazard light to signal that you are in trouble. Pull your car as far off the road as possible to avoid being hit by the cars roaring past you. If necessary, exit from the passenger side door to avoid being struck by passing traffic. Once out of the car, stay focused on where you are walking and stay on the side of your vehicle away from traffic, using the car to protect you but not right against the car where, if hit, it would injure you.
Avoid Breaking Down
There are steps you can take to avoid most roadside breakdowns, but there is always that unexpected turn of events that happen even though you have followed proper maintenance procedures. Check your tires routinely for proper air pressure and wear and tear. Check them monthly with a good quality gauge while the tires are cold. The proper tire pressure for your car should be in your owner's manual or on the driver side door jam, not necessarily the pressure noted on the tire itself. Check for uneven wear on the tires and the depth of the tread by inserting a quarter upside down noting whether any portion of the head is showing indicating low tread. Make sure you have a jack and spare tire in the trunk or the tire sealant kit.
What to Check For
At every oil change, check the corrosion on your battery cables and make sure they are attached securely. Most batteries have a three to five-year service level, depending on the climate and weather conditions it operates in. AAA recommends having your battery checked at three years and annually after that. According to a recent survey, two thirds of Americans had never had their battery checked prior to the car failing to start or dying unexpectedly.
Flat tires and dead batteries are the common causes of needing roadside assistance, but there are other reasons, also, one being lost keys or being locked out of your vehicle. Faulty alternators or starters, broken hoses, water pumps going out are all unexpected trouble that can occur without warning. Putting the wrong fuel in your car accidentally, diesel for gas or vise-versa is sometimes an issue or failing to provide enough gas for your driving needs. Pay attention to those dashboard lights, they are there for a reason-to let you know your car is overheating, low on gas or oil, brake fluid needed, or there is an engine problem. This way you may avoid breaking down on the highway!