Image via Flickr by stephen_clarky

Image via Flickr by stephen_clarky

Breaking down is scary and stressful. Breaking down with a dead phone battery only makes matters worse. Knowing how to fix the problem yourself or how to get help without your phone is key in making your unexpected mishap as painless as possible.

Alert Oncoming Vehicles

Many motorists assume drivers with a disabled vehicles will call for help on their own, so if you cannot, you’ll need to alert fellow drivers or highway patrol that you need help. Hanging a white cloth from your window while remaining in the vehicle is a safe way to alert others of your situation. If it is daytime, also put your emergency flashers on to warn others that your vehicle isn’t moving. If it is night, use emergency triangles, or if the engine is functional, keep the interior lights on for visibility.

Seek Help Smartly

If you leave your vehicle for any reason, be sure to place a note visibly on your windshield. Write the time you left, where you went, when you expect to be back, and that you do not have a working cell phone. That way, if any potential rescuers come along, they know to wait for you or call for help.

Find a Phone

Call boxes are still placed at the mile markers on highways and interstates. If you can see one from your car, feel free to approach it and use it. If you cannot see one, it’s best to wait inside your vehicle for highway patrol. If you break down in a city or town and it is safe to exit your vehicle, a local business or gas station should let you use their phone or perhaps an outlet to charge your own.

Proceed With Caution

Try to get as far off the road as possible. If on the highway, pull to the very edge of the shoulder, or if your situation allows, pull off the highway altogether. If you haveĀ a flat tire, immediate stopping is necessary to prevent further damage, so use your judgment when finding a safe place to stop. Do not work on your car or change a tire on the side facing traffic.

Think of the Elements

In times of roadside crisis, your safety is most important. Other than being struck by a passing vehicle, being stranded roadside presents other safety concerns. If you are driving through a desert or hot climate, be sure to stock your car with water in case of an emergency. If you do not have water, make that a priority. Don’t sacrifice your health in attempts to solve the car problem. Likewise, with winter conditions, use your car to your advantage. Layer your clothing and check your circulation regularly while waiting for help.

Being prepared is a part of safe driving, but the unexpected does happen. Be smart and put your safety first in case of a roadside emergency. And when the crisis resolves, consider investing in a car charger for your cell phone before your next trip!