Car emergencies may be hard to predict, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready for whatever life throws your way. Whether your car refuses to start or you’ve just been in an accident, knowing what to do ahead of time is the best way to get out of an emergency relatively unscathed.
To make sure you’re ready for any possibility, here are the most common car emergencies you could encounter and how you can stay prepared.
Anyone with driving experience has been here before – the dreaded tire blowout. When you hear the tell-tale sound of a popping tire, the wisest course of action is to keep driving. Many drivers immediately hit the brakes and try to get off the road, but this can cause a spin or catastrophic crash. Instead, maintain your speed while driving in as straight a line as possible and coast until your car slows naturally, then find a safe spot on the road’s shoulder.
Changing a tire can be fairly simple if you have a small jack and a spare – two items you should never drive without. But when p[ossible, it’s best left to to a Roadside Assistance professional. And in some cases, the conditions of the road may not permit a tire change, so you should instead rely on roadside assistance.
Rain, sleet, or snow, your vehicle can easily get stuck in the muck. Whether you parked on soft ground without realizing it, pulled into someone’s unpaved driveway in the night, or accidentally left your car exposed to the elements, it’s now your responsibility to get it unstuck.
Fortunately, there are a few tried and true methods for getting your vehicle out of a tight spot. These include:
- Creating traction underneath your tires. This includes rocks, dry dirt, or if you’re lucky to have them, lengths of wood.
- Clearing the ground around your tires. If your tires can’t find purchase on the ground because of snow or mud build-up, clearing the ground around them can allow you to move those few precious inches you need to break free.
- Shifting into first or “low” gear. Press the gas slowly, then release and let your vehicle roll backward. Repeat the process until you have enough momentum to break free.
The Empty Gas Tank
We’ve all experienced the feeling of noticing a near-empty tank and hoping you can make it to the nearest gas station. Unfortunately, that gas station is sometimes just far enough away that you can’t make it there in time.
If you do run out of gas, pull over immediately if possible. If you can’t get onto the shoulder or pull into a parking lot/driveway, turn on your hazard lights and put your car in neutral. That way, you can push it to the side of the road safely. Plus, your hazard lights can signal to passersby that you need help.
Your best bet for preventing the worst case scenario if you run out of gas is to always carry a small gas can in your vehicle. That way, if you’re near a gas station when you break down, you can always walk there and fill up the can. If you aren’t near a gas station, call roadside assistance ASAP.
Dead batteries can strike at any time, and almost always when you least expect it. That’s why jump-starting a car is an absolutely necessary skill for any driver. Make sure you carry jumper cables at all times – that way, if a Good Samaritan stops to help, the two of you can jump-start your battery so you can make it safely to your destination.
Remember: a dead battery could strike again soon after your first experience, so take your vehicle into an auto shop to test your battery. You may need to replace the battery altogether to prevent yourself from being stranded again. If you do find yourself on the side of the road with no chance of a jump-start, don’t hesitate to contact roadside assistance.
Needing to get from point A to point B, regardless of the elements, is a simple fact of life. That’s why most of us have driven in extreme weather conditions at one point or more in our lives.
Severe weather is one of, if not the most common cause of car emergencies. Whether it leads to an accident or you find yourself stuck on the side of the road in waist-high snow, it’s important to have been prepared long before you put the key in the ignition.
Some tips for severe weather preparedness include carrying these items with you at all times:
- A fully-charged cell phone
- A waterproof flashlight and flares on hand
- A stocked first aid kit in your vehicle
- Blankets or a warm change of clothes
- Umbrellas, ponchos, and jackets
- A whistle to signal passersby
- A fire extinguisher for small fires
- Non-perishable food and water
- Contact information for a reliable roadside assistance provider
The easiest way to prepare for an accident is to learn how to avoid them altogether. The better you are as a driver, the smaller the likelihood you’ll be in an accident. Unfortunately, you are not in control of other drivers on the road who are more prone to careless mistakes.
If you are involved in a car accident, do your best to get yourself and other drivers to safety. If it’s possible to remove your vehicles from the road, do so as soon as possible. Do not leave the scene of the accident – instead, contact police at once. Take pictures of the scene to document as many details as possible. Call roadside assistance or a tow truck if your vehicle is too damaged or dangerous to drive home. Then, report the accident to your insurance provider.
The Ultimate Way to Stay Prepared: Get a Roadside Assistance Plan
Car emergencies can happen to anyone at any time, even if you’re totally prepared. That’s why it’s critical to have a roadside assistance plan from a trusted provider that covers all car emergencies. You can protect yourself, your vehicle, and your wallet against the unexpected with a roadside assistance benefit plan from Alliance Direct Benefits for under $1 /day.
Ready to get started? Join the Alliance online and get protected asap!