What to do if your car breaks down?

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Vehicle breakdowns occur when you least expect them, even the best maintained car can run out of petrol! How you react to a roadside breakdown can prevent injury, keep others from being inconvenienced, and streamline the process of getting help. Here are a few tips to help you cope in the unfortunate event of a breakdown.

Be prepared
Keep a roadside safety kit that includes jumper cables, reflectors, basic tools, and an empty petrol can in your car. Also, be sure to keep a couple of litres of water in your boot, more if travelling long distances in unpopulated areas. Have a copy of emergency numbers for roadside assistance and insurance providers stored both in your mobile phone and somewhere in your car.

Safety first
If your car begins to stall, try to drive to the side of the road before it stops completely. If this isn’t possible, try to at least get into one of the outer lanes. Immediately turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to your situation. If you are on a busy highway, do not get out of your car into traffic. Call for assistance from your car. If you breakdown in an isolated or low-traffic area, check carefully for approaching traffic before exiting your car, moving it to the side of the road, and raising its bonnet.

Getting assistance
After moving your car to the side of the road, turning on its hazard lights, and raising its bonnet, return to your car to call for assistance. If your mobile phone is not working, seek help from passing drivers. When someone does assist, ask them to call your roadside assistance or car insurance provider , and stay in your car. Never get into a car with strangers.

Extreme circumstances
If you are in an isolated area with no traffic, do not attempt to walk to the next town. Stay with your car and stay out of the sun. Set up reflectors from your roadside safety kit to attract the attention of passing aircraft. Be patient, stay positive, and conserve your energy and resources.

A stalled car is inconvenient, but common sense and a few safety precautions can keep most breakdowns from turning into hazards. Follow the simple tips listed above to handle a breakdown calmly and efficiently, and you'll be back on the road before long.