What to Do if Your Vehicle Breaks Down on an Interstate Highway

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A road trip is such a wonderful opportunity to bond with your loved ones.  There’s nothing like the open road and the breathtaking sceneries that you get to see along the way.  However, unexpected things can happen during your trip.  For instance, your car suddenly breaks down while you’re driving along the interstate highway.  No need to worry because we’ve got some helpful tips for you:

What to do first

Gently take your foot off the accelerator.  Don’t brake hard.  Carefully maneuver your car toward the breakdown lane or the side of the road.  If you are on an interstate, then try to reach the exit.  Remember to signal your intentions to the drivers behind you.  If you need to change lanes, watch your mirrors and the traffic around you.

Once you’re off the road, make sure your car is visible.  Place reflectorized triangles behind your car to alert the other drivers.  You can also use emergency flashers.  Is it getting dark?  Turn on the interior dome light.

wheel after tire explosion

Flat Tire

If you have a flat tire, make sure that you can change it safely away from the traffic.  Change the tire as you normally would.  Take note to prioritize safety over your schedule or whatever concerns you might have.  Although, if your vehicle is beyond repair, then you need to get professional help.  Don’t try to flag down other cars.  Instead, raise the hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it on a window so truck operators or police will know that you need help.  Do not stand behind or next to your car.  If your vehicle is in the roadway, then stand away from the car while waiting for help.

Out of Traffic

If your vehicle is safely out of traffic, then wait inside the car and lock the doors.  You may then use your cellphone to call for help.  However, if someone approaches you and offers help, then partially open the window and tell them to call the police.  Watch out for police officers or other emergency personnel.  All major roads and interstate highways are patrolled regularly.  Some highways even have special “call-for-help” phones that you can use.

More safety tips

Avoid walking on an interstate especially during harsh weather conditions.  Although, if you can get to a source of help on foot without risking your personal or physical safety, then try the direct approach.  Remember to avoid the traffic and walk on the right side of the road.  Don’t attempt to cross a high-speed, multi-lane roadway.

interstate map

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Even if you regularly maintain your car, breakdowns can still happen.  Be sufficiently prepared and keep an emergency toolkit in your car at all times.  A mobile phone is the most important component in your emergency kit.  It is your lifeline to help.  A well-stocked kit also includes:

  • Maps
  • Water and paper towels
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Basic repair tools and duct tape
  • Emergency blankets, towels, and coats
  • A first aid kit
  • A flashlight
  • A phone charger/extra battery
  • Flares and white flag
  • Work gloves and change of clothes
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Jack and ground mat
  • Jumper cables

Lastly, always remain calm and don’t panic.  Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a  safe and memorable trip.

 

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