While we like to believe that our cars will forever be reliable, the truth is that they’re made of machinery, and they will inevitably stop working once certain conditions are met. If you don’t maintain your vehicle, it will break down much earlier than a healthy one would, but even well-kept cars can have sudden accidents.
Needless to say, no one should ever believe that they are immune to sudden breakdowns. Unfortunately, a lot of people have this exact mentality, and they react less than favorably when their car croaks on the road.
As towing experts serving Brownington, Littleton, and other surrounding areas, we’ve seen every kind of reaction under the sun when it comes to breakdowns. Believe us when we say there are things you should do, and things you shouldn’t do. Here are some things NOT to do when your car starts giving you trouble:
DON’T: Stop On the Road
A car will almost never just stop working instantaneously, leaving you no room to pull over. Even if the worst happens and your engine stops working out of nowhere, you’ll more than likely have enough momentum to pull over. Never let your car die in the middle of the road! This is extremely dangerous and could end up in a totaled vehicle, or far worse, a fatality.
This, of course, is trickier in high-traffic situations. If you’re in a middle lane, try to get over, and if it’s not possible, put on your emergency lights so people behind you know there’s a problem. In a nutshell, you want to give as much warning as humanly possible to surrounding drivers that your car is having issues.
DON’T: Keep Driving
The premise of this blog post is that your car has, in fact, broken down, but it’s possible for your care to have debilitating issues and still be drivable. But even if your engine still works, there are some situations where you should NOT keep driving.
A flashing engine light is a good example. Did you know that when your engine light flashes, it means that you’re in immediate danger of your engine catching fire? This is a signal that your cylinders are misfiring, which can lead to abrupt engine failure at a catastrophic scale. Of course, you wouldn’t know that without the indicator; even a misfiring engine feels normal.
Don’t hesitate to pull over if you have any reason to believe that your car is compromised. Other conditions could be a punctured tire or a severely cracked windshield. In short, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
DON’T: Stand Next To, In Front Of, or Behind the Car
It’s easy to believe that you’re perfectly fine once you’ve pulled over. After all, it’s pretty easy to see a car on the side of the road with its hood pulled wide open. And you’d be right in assuming that any rational, alert driver would avoid you — unfortunately, not all drivers on the road are paying as much attention as they should be.
Some people sort of drive on the line to keep space between the other lane. If they’re not looking up, they could easily miss a parked car. Let’s also not forget how many people use their phone on the road these days. It’s also important to consider your location — if you’re parked along a bend, even alert drivers might find themselves surprised by your sudden, stationary presence.
Drunk drivers are a major threat to parked cars. Did you know that, at nighttime, many drunk drivers will subconsciously drive straight into stationary cars on the side of the road? While the odds of this are fairly low, it’s still possible, and you don’t want to be near your vehicle when that happens. When you’re broken down, keep a reasonable distance between yourself and your car, and only get inside when there’s not nearby traffic.
DON’T: Freak Out
One of the worst things you can do during a breakdown is losing your cool. Even if the situation is dire, it’s important to remain level-headed, for both your sake, the people around you, and the health of your car.
The first step is acceptance — understand that a broken down car is your new reality, and accept that. To not do so is to be in denial, and drivers who are in denial often make the problem worse, like when they keep on driving because they don’t want to “deal” with the problem. Spoiler alert: that won’t help.
It’s also not important to get overly stressed about time. Even if you had a time-sensitive commitment, you have to realize that you’re not going to make it — or at least, you need to be open to that possibility. Folks who are in a rush often try to patch up the problem with a band-aid and get going, and again, that’s something that rarely has any beneficial effects.
Strong emotions can lead to impulsive and unwise decisions. When you’re dealing with a broken car and oncoming traffic in your close vicinity, that’s not the kind of headspace you want to be in.
DON’T: Flag People Down For Help
Don’t be surprised if you get a couple of strangers who end up pulling over when they see a stranded car. While they usually have the best of intentions, the best choice is to wait for the help of professionals, such as our team at B&B Towing and Recovery. Good samaritans often want to help, but you’d be surprised at how many people think they know a lot about fixing up cars, when in reality, they’re totally off-base.
And, don’t discount the possibility of malicious strangers. While the chances are exceedingly low of a kidnapper or serial killer pulling up to chat with you, the bottom line is that you just never know. Avoid flagging down strangers; at best, there’s usually relatively little they can do to help. At worst, they can mean you harm.
DON’T: Avoid Calling Professionals
The easiest, fastest, and safest way to get out of a roadside breakdown situation is to call on the professionals. You shouldn’t hesitate with this; local law enforcement can help protect your vehicle if you’re in a crowded traffic area, and roadside assistance can help to fix up your car or get it towed to someone who can.
At B&B Towing and Recovery, we provide the latter for people all over Vermont. While most people don’t like getting towed out of a parking lot, it can be a lifesaver when you’re on the road. We put our clients first, and you can bet that we’ll always go out of our way to ensure the most optimal solution to your problems, whether it’s quality roadside assistance, or towing you exactly where you need to be at an affordable rate. Got questions about our company and what we do? Be sure to contact us today!