According to CDC’s study, despite the government’s efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality rates from vehicular accidents, the number of deaths and injury are still peaking at around 32,000 and 2 million, respectively. Indeed, driving is, by nature, a dangerous activity.
But aside from car crashes, a national survey also reveals that getting stuck in the road and waiting for professional help is one of a driver’s top fears. Furthermore, a study commissioned by Allstate Roadside Services shows that approximately 95% of drivers in the US have experienced a car breakdown at least once in their life, with young drivers as the most vulnerable group.
Considering these statistics, it is crucial for drivers to take a proactive approach when their car suddenly breaks down. This is especially true since the dangers can double once they get stuck on a deserted road in the middle of the night.
As a guide, below is a step-by-step guide on what you need to do in case your car suddenly stops:
1. Get Your Car off the Road
Fortunately, moving vehicles were designed to gain enough momentum to get off the road even when the ignition fails. If you can safely park your car on the roadside, do so. Then, turn on your hazard lights and engage the engine brakes. Rotate your steering wheel away from the road so your car won’t accidentally move towards the incoming traffic and calmly wait for help.
If, on the other hand, moving your car to the roadside is next to impossible, stay inside especially if you’re on a busy road. Turn your hazard lights on and wait for help. While it is frustrating and embarrassing to see the traffic piling down behind you, getting off the car to cross a busy road is a suicide attempt.
To alert other drivers, hang a white cloth on your window or tie it to your radio antenna. This way, they can safely maneuver away from your lane.
2. Call for Professional Help
We all know that a majority of Americans own a mobile phone. If you're one of them, there’s no reason for you to not ask for professional help especially if you are stuck on a dangerous road. Trying to change your tires or jumpstart your batteries even if you’re not knowledgeable in doing so can cause you and other motorists considerable delay.
However, if you don’t have access to a mobile phone, look for an emergency call box. Get off your car on the side opposite to traffic and check whether or not it is safe for you to cross the road. If not, stay in your car and just wait for professional assistance.
3. Stay In Your Car
A study from the government’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System encyclopedia reveals that around 4,000 pedestrians are killed on the roadway each year. The moral lesson of the story: don’t cross busy roads especially if the cars are passing by at a speed of around 60 miles per hour.
In the like manner, don’t leave your vehicle unattended. Roadside service providers can’t work on your car without your consent. Patiently wait for help and always lock your doors if you are in a dangerous, deserted road.
4. Lastly, Work around Your Own Circumstance
Not all car breakdowns are the same, so it is always best that you work around your own circumstance. If, for instance, you were able to get your car to a safer road and you have all the equipment and skills you need to change your flat tire, you can skip step 2. Remember, fixing your vehicle and getting back to the road is always a mix of knowledge, skills and common sense.