What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down on the Highway

Oldsmobile broken down on the highway.

Being stuck in the middle of the highway is never an ideal situation. It can be hard to figure out what to do, how to react, and whether or not you should get out of the car — especially if it’s cold outside and you have small children or older adults with you.

There are some specific highway rules that have been developed for this exact situation, though most people aren’t aware of them. In order to keep you safe while you’re driving at any time, read through these highway safety rules, just in case your car breaks down while you’re in the middle of the road.

Should You Get Out?

The biggest question that drivers face is whether or not to get out of a car once it has stopped working. The answer to this question is two-fold.

  • If your car breaks down directly in the middle of the land, and you can’t move it, you should get out of the car immediately. Make your way towards the side of the road, and step over the guardrail if the car is in the far right hand side of the highway.
  • If you can move your car to the breakdown lane, stay in the vehicle and call for help. Put your hazard lights on just in case someone doesn’t see you right away.

Who Do You Call?

The first call you should make is to the 911. Call this number immediately, tell them where your car is located, where you are located, and what the situation is. After that, call AAA or any other road club that you belong to, so that you can get your car towed as soon as possible.

What About Bad Weather?

Unfortunately, a number of cars do break down when the weather is less than perfect. Winter temperatures can cause cars to do some crazy things, and this may mean that you will be stuck in the cold until help can arrive. Since this is always a possibility during the winter months, you should have a kit prepared in your car for these situations. What should be inside of this kit?

  • A blanket
  • Some dry food
  • Water
  • Winter clothes like hats and gloves

When you have a kit already prepared, you can simply pull it out for use if you do have to exit your car in cold weather.

Why Not Stay In the Car?

The problem with staying in car that has broken down in a lane is that oncoming cars might not notice that your car has stalled. You can put your hazards on, but this may not be enough of a warning if a person is driving quickly and does not have enough time to realize that your car has stopped completely. The danger with being inside of your car is that you may be hit by another vehicle, and this could cause serious damage in addition to a multi car pile up.

Helping Other People

If you notice that another car has stalled on a highway, and it looks like that person might need help, you can do one of two things. You can either note the exact location and call 911 from your cell phone to report the breakdown, or you can make that call while also pulling over to the side of the road and asking if you can be of assistance. Sometimes, letting people wait for help in your warm car on a cold day is really appreciated — especially if you see that the person has small children. These simple acts of kindness can really help!

It can be extremely dangerous to get out of a car in the middle of a highway. Be careful if you plan to do this. It’s also vital that you make sure that your car is in good shape at all times to avoid any kind of possible breakdown. While some of these incidents can’t be avoided, if your car is not in good shape, the possibility of a breakdown does increase.

Adding Extra Layers of Safety

When it comes to driving any kind of vehicle, you can never really be too safe. In addition to making sure that your car is in top shape at all times, it’s also a good idea to have a rear view camera installed on your car to help you see what’s in back of you at all times. Backup camera installation is fast and simple, and it could save your (or someone else’s) life. Contact Trail Ridge Technologies today for a wireless rear view camera for your vehicle, and remember the road rules if your car does break down — you can never be too safe.