Help! What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down on a Road Trip

Road trips can be a lot of fun with the right preparation, car service and maintenance and they’re the perfect summer getaway. But, emergencies can happen on the road which is why it’s important to be prepared for a breakdown. Even the most reliable cars can break down in the middle of a road trip and there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a defunct vehicle.

Help! What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down on a Road Trip

Not to worry, though! We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know if your car breaks down on a road trip, as well as some tips on how to prepare for a successful adventure.

If your car breaks down on a road trip…

Pull Over

The first thing you should do if your car breaks down during a road trip is pull over. Safety is obviously the main concern, so first and foremost, do everything you can to keep you and your family safe. If for some reason you can’t get to the side of the road, put your emergency lights on and use a flare. Make sure to leave your car (if possible) if you think you might get rear-ended.

driving licence travel essential

With the last car I owned, and the previous owners Jam and Josie in Devonport, Tasmania, Australia.

Call for Help

Once you’re safe, call 9-1-1 for help. When the dispatcher asks for information, provide an accurate description of your location, your vehicle, the nature of the issue, and your name and contact information. They will likely send out a tow truck to help solve the problem.

Knowing your location will help the tow truck or emergency personnel find you as fast as possible. If you are on the freeway, try to see the nearest exit. State the highway you are on and which direction you’re headed, any mile markers you see, and any other important information.

How to Successful Prepare for a Road Trip

Preparation is key when it comes to road trips and by being proactive, you can limit your risk of breakdowns. There are a few things to remember when preparing for a road trip, including building an emergency kit, knowing your route ahead of time, and knowing where you’re going to rest when you get too tired to drive.

Building an Emergency Kit

Make sure your car is well-stocked before anything happens. Nationwide Insurance shared a very comprehensive emergency kit list, which includes:

  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charger
  • Owner’s manual
  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire
  • Tire-pressure gauge
  • Emergency flares or reflectors
  • Signal flag and reflective vest
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Drinking water and nonperishable food
  • First aid kit

There are many other things to stock your car with to prepare for a breakdown, but this is a good start. The DMV also shares a comprehensive list of things to have in your emergency kit.

tasmania car 2010

Out in Tasmania in 2010 with my old Toyota Hilux.

Know Your Route

We all have GPS on our phones, but knowing your route ahead of time will save you some stress when you hit the road and will be one less thing you will have to worry about on your road trip. Plan out things like your stops, where you’ll get gas, where you can sleep, and any attractions along the way.

Find a Place to Sleep Ahead of Time

Like knowing your route, planning out your hotels ahead of time is crucial when considering safety on your road trip. There is nothing more dangerous than a tired driver, and during a road trip, if you don’t know where you’re going to stop, you might drive further and further until you’re too tired to drive safely. Because of this, planning out where you will stop will help prevent any breakdowns or accidents.

Get Your Car Serviced before You Leave

Before your road trip, make sure everything is running smoothly to help keep you safe on the road and prevent any breakdowns. Check your fluids (oil, transmission fluid, etc.), make sure your tires and alignment are good to go and check your brakes. All of these are crucial things to check before a road trip. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find service specials that could help you save some money on costly maintenance.

If you’re headed out on a road trip, prepare before you go to save yourself hassle down the road and keep you and your passengers safe!

 

 

 

 

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