If your car suddenly breaks down, you are at a possibly increased risk of a car accident. If you go walking to a service station in order to get help, for example, you may become the victim of a pedestrian accident. If you leave your car by the side of the road, it could be rear-ended. If your car breaks down very suddenly, you could be in a rear-end collision if the car behind you does not stop quickly enough.
If your car breaks down, there are several things that you should do to keep yourself and your car safe:
1) If you are on the motorway, pull over to the left as far as you can on the shoulder. Your wheels should be turned to left. Turn on your headlights so that oncoming cars can readily see your vehicle. Assess the damage to your vehicle, close up your car, and call for help. Make sure that you can offer some type of identifying information about where you are located.
2) If you have reflective or bright-colored clothing, put on this clothing. Make yourself visible on the road so that oncoming cars do not hit you. If you have children with you, make sure that they stay with you and do not step out into oncoming traffic.
3) While waiting for help, stay with your car, but do not remain in the car. If your car is hit, you want to be able to remain safe. Also, remaining in a car on a hot day or even a mild day can quickly cause you to suffer heat distress. If the weather permits, stay outside, on the far side of your vehicle, as far away from oncoming traffic as possible.
4) If you are not able to pull off onto the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights. Exit the vehicle and stand as far away from traffic as possible, keeping your car in view. Only remain in the car if it is unsafe to leave. If you can’t pull off onto the shoulder of the road, it is generally safer to exit the vehicle, as your card may be hit by another car in the oncoming traffic lane.
5) If you are disabled, switch on your hazard lights when your car breaks down and remain in the vehicle. Call for help or signal to passing vehicles that you need assistance.