How To Stay Safe When Your Car Breaks Down

When your car breaks down on the roadside, the time you spend waiting for your emergency breakdown service can be worrying and stressful--particularly if it's after dark and you'd been driving alone. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prepare in advance for such an eventuality that should help you to deal with it as best you can should it arise--and a few more things that will help you through it should you need to use them.

How To Prepare Your 'Breakdown Box'

Nearly everyone will experience a roadside breakdown at some point during their driving career, so it's important to ensure that you're ready for it when it comes. It's a good idea to keep a 'breakdown box' in the boot of your car, containing everything you'll need in such a situation. It doesn't have to be very large; it just needs enough space for a few essential items. There are a few things that might help you get your car started on your own that it's always a good idea to keep in the back--but here we're focusing solely on what you'll need if you ever have to call for a tow truck.

If your mobile phone contract came with a free pay-as-you-go SIM card, it's a good idea to put it into an old handset, charge it up and leave it switched off in your breakdown box. Pre-program it with the numbers of your emergency breakdown service and an emergency contact such as a close friend or relative, and you're less likely to be caught short with a dead battery.

A reflective triangle to hang on the back of your car while you wait is a great idea to make it easier for other drivers to see where you are.

A battery-powered torch will let you look around at your surroundings and find things in the back of your car more easily. Just be careful not to point it anywhere near the face of another driver passing by.

A warm blanket, a bottle of water and a few non-perishable snacks can make the waiting experience far more pleasant than it might otherwise be.

A hi-vis jacket is essential for keeping you safe should you need to leave your car while you're broken down.

What To Do While You Wait

Once you've opened up your breakdown box and made the call to your emergency service, you need to keep yourself safe. Try to stay inside your car as much as possible. When you do have to step outside it, be extremely mindful of nearby traffic and wear your hi-vis jacket to help other drivers avoid you. Once you've hung your reflective triangle on the back and put on your hazard lights, get back inside your car and lock all the doors. You can turn on all the car's inside lights, for your own comfort and peace of mind--after all, it doesn't matter if the battery runs down if your car is to be repaired anyway!

Waiting for towing can be a stressful experience, but with just a little forward planning you can minimise the stress a great deal.