What to do when your car breaks down

broken down car

Let’s face it, there’s never a good time for your car to break down. Whether you’re just 10 Kms from your home, stranded on the local freeway, or in the Australian outback… it’s inconvenient to say the least and downright dangerous at the most. What’s probably the real irritating factor however, is that often your car gives little to no warning about when it’s on its last wheels. From a flat battery to a busted tyre, and to the more serious (and costly) engine troubles, the reality is that the whole ordeal can leave you feeling a little panicked.

Stuck on the side of the road? Stay alert with these tips

Even if you bought the latest and most reliable car and you’re always on top of its services, your vehicle may still break down. You don’t need to let this inconvenience ruin your day though. With a little bit of preparation and knowledge, you can be better equipped to handle the risk of uncertainty if your car breaks down.

While you may not be able to predict when you’re going to experience mechanical failure, you can take control of the situation to the best of your ability with our helpful and simple advice.

Safety first

When you’ve broken down on a motorway or a local road, whether at night or in broad daylight, the most important thing is to look after your safety and that of your passengers. If you feel that your car is struggling or just doesn’t feel right, move to the far-left side of the road or try to find a breakdown bay when it is safe to do so.

Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers can see that you have parked. You may not need to wait long until a good Samaritan stops to help, but in the meantime there are a few things you can do to ensure your safety.

Don’t get out of your car if there’s nowhere safe to stand outside. Instead, it’s a good idea to stay in your car with the seatbelt on. You may be tempted to wave down traffic for help, but this will distract other drivers on the road. It’s best to wait for help, by staying buckled in your seat.

If you have found somewhere safe to stand while you wait – and it is far from the motorway – it may be safer to leave your car by the passenger side to avoid getting out into traffic and take your keys with you. While you might be tempted to walk to find help, staying put can be the safest option where traffic is concerned.

If the day is particularly warm, remember that the temperature in the car can rise quickly. If it’s uncomfortably hot, turn on the AC if your engine is still running, wind down your car windows or get outside for fresh air and find shade if it is safe to do so.

It’s not always the best solution to try and fix the car yourself. If you’re in an area with mobile coverage, call and wait for roadside assistance.

What to do when you’re stranded in a remote area

If you’re unfortunate enough to have broken down in the middle of nowhere, try to remain calm. The outback is as vast as it is hot, but the good news is that a truck or car may come past sooner or later. If you don’t have mobile coverage and you can’t see an emergency phone communication nearby, pop the bonnet and put on your hazards and then wait for someone to drive past.

You don’t want to attempt a trek to the nearest service station – it’s important to stay with your car. Out there in the open landscape, the biggest life challenges are heat and thirst.

Expect the unexpected: avoiding and preparing for a breakdown

It’s always a good idea to invest in an emergency car kit for unexpected dramas. This is especially important if you are attempting a road trip. For your emergency car kit, you’ll need a pair of jumper cables, radiator coolant, and a bottle of oil. You can also pack a ‘comfort kit’ for yourself and any passengers, with a torch, packaged snacks, bottled water, and a pen and paper.

The three most common reasons for a breakdown include a flat or faulty battery, damaged tyres and wheels, and no engine oil. It goes without saying that regularly servicing your car and checking the pressure in the tyres are two important risk mitigation measures to prevent a breakdown.

CCI has car insurance you can count on

There’s no doubt your car is a big part of your life. Whether you’re driving to work in peak hour traffic, running errands on your days off, or just getting away for the weekend, it’s a good idea to have car insurance should the unexpected happen.

At CCI Personal Insurance, we offer third party property damage and comprehensive car insurance to suit customers with different needs. For more information, call us on 1800 107 603.