Dealing with Breakdowns

Wednesday, 2 November 2011
A mechanical breakdown can not only be inconvenient, it can also be potentially very dangerous.

Of course you can reduce the chances of a breakdown occurring in the first place by making sure your vehicle is well maintained. It also helps to make sure that there is some petrol in the tank as well.

Running out of fuel is one of the more common errors that can result in a vehicle being stranded by the side of the road.

But even the most modern and well maintained vehicles can sometimes encounter an unexpected mechanical issue.

Whether it’s a problem under the bonnet or something like a flat tyre, it’s vital that you keep a clear head to make sure that you minimise the drama to yourself and other road users.

Obviously your options will be somewhat limited if you strike a sudden mechanical problem while you’re underway. It will come down to managing the situation as best you can and dealing with the conditions at the time.

You’ll need to think about where you are going to pull over while you still have some forward momentum. Stay calm and look for a safe area where you can get the car as far off the road as possible.

Use your indicators to signal your intentions to other drivers and carefully work your vehicle to the left side of the road. If you’re on a highway you may be lucky enough to access a breakdown lane or reach an exit if you still have power.

The main thing is to avoid stopping somewhere that makes you vulnerable or where it is liable to surprise other drivers.

Once you’re off the road, be sure to make the vehicle as visible as possible. Putting on the car’s hazard lights, raising the bonnet and displaying reflective warning triangles will help warn others of your situation.

If you have a flat tyre make sure you can change it safely.

It may be better to continue on for a short distance at low speed to reach a safe spot rather stopping somewhere the places you close to the traffic flow.

Safety must be your priority, so before you do anything ask yourself this question “is it safe to do this here?”

Even if the answer is yes, don’t underestimate the potential dangers in doing this by the roadside. There have been many crashes where innocent people have been killed as they changed a tyre.

Unless you’re a mechanic with all the tools and gear, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fix a mechanical problem. But thanks to mobile phones help is usually just a phone call away. It is good idea to store emergency numbers like roadside assistance into your phone’s contacts so that you can find them easily when needed.

Dealing with a breakdown will certainly not be a fun experience. But with some clear thinking you can reduce the overall risks, minimise the inconvenience and assist in getting help to you as soon as possible.

More From Driver Safety

  • Driver Protect Program

    Special Offer-This all new package includes training and 1 year's road side assistance Find out more

  • Fleet Safety Management

    Our services include a complete fleet safety training management program Find out more

  • Driving Simulators

    Our driving simulator allows you to experience the latest in driver training technology Find out more