What Should You Do if Your Car Breaks Down on the Highway

A roadside breakdown on a highway is an emergency situation that every driver fears. While you should always do your best to avoid a breakdown by keeping up with routine maintenance, the truth is that all it takes is one broken hose or flat tire to leave you stuck on the side of the road. If a breakdown happens, then don’t panic. You can follow these steps to stay safe while you wait for the towing and recovery service.

Find a Safe Place to Park

In most cases, you should have enough time to get your car to the side of the road. At the first sign of trouble, turn on the hazard flashers and maneuver your car to a safe place to park. If possible, try to stay with the flow of traffic until you have made it to the shoulder. Ideally, the parking space should be located in an area that is easily accessible to the recovery truck.

Stay in Your Vehicle

Once you park your car, avoid the temptation to get out of the vehicle. Unfortunately, other drivers may not realize that you are pulled over on the side of the road or slick conditions could cause them to run into you. You are safest in your car with the seatbelt fastened and the doors locked, so try to remain in this position until the tow crew arrives. If you must get out of your vehicle such as to put out an engine fire, then exit through the door that is the furthest away from the road.

Alert Others to Your Distress

Your next step is to increase the visibility of your car to other drivers on the road. Keep the hazard flashers on, and turn on the interior dome light to make it easier to see your car. You can also use items from your roadside emergency kit to increase visibility. For instance, flares or reflectors can be placed on the street around your vehicle so that other drivers notice your presence.

Avoid Accepting Help From Strangers

The world is full of kind people, and you may discover that other drivers stop to offer their assistance. While this is always a sweet gesture, you must keep in mind that your safety is a priority. If you must speak to someone who stops, then roll your window down just enough to communicate. Then, let them know that you have already called for help to be on the way. This also ensures that only a reputable auto repair company works on your car so that a well-meaning person does not create bigger problems with a faulty repair.

Call for Professional Assistance

The highway is not a safe place to perform major car repairs. For this reason, it is always best to arrange for a towing and recovery service to transport your car to the repair shop. There, proper repairs can be made so that you can avoid having another roadside catastrophe happen.

The realization that your car is breaking down is enough to send anyone into a panic. Fortunately, you now know exactly how to handle every driver’s worst nightmare. By staying calm, keeping safe and calling for help, you can quickly get your car back into good operating condition.

Brake Maintenance Tips for Semis

When you drive a semi, you know the importance of trusting the braking system to stop on command. Yet, long hours on the road, combined with frequent stops can put significant stress on the brakes. Since your truck’s braking system is your first line of defense against a potentially deadly accident, this is one maintenance area that you never want to overlook. Make sure to follow these brake maintenance tips for semis to ensure that you never wind up with a runaway truck.

 

Follow the Recommended Schedule

Unfortunately, there is no universal rule for when you should have the brakes inspected, and the recommended schedule for brake maintenance can vary even among the same truck makes and models. This is because multiple factors such as the frequency of stops, amount of inclines you encounter, and the distance you drive on a regular basis can all increase the amount of strain placed on the braking system. When you take your rig in for ABS brake repair, talk to the technician about your driving habits to develop a personalized schedule that keeps your semi’s brakes in top condition. Although most trucks should have their brakes inspected with each oil change, yours may need care sooner.

 

Watch Out for Corrosion

Brakes are especially susceptible to corrosion, and road crews often use chemical preparations to remove ice and snow during the winter. While this does help to keep the roads safer, the chemicals used in deicer can work their way into the braking system. Over time, this can wreak havoc on the rotors and some of the newer preparations can get into the brake shoe table and the lining. Ideally, you should rinse the bottom of your rig with water to remove the majority of the deicer. Then, make sure to have your auto repair company check for corrosion during your brake services.

 

Perform Pre-Trip Inspections

To get your CDL, you were required to demonstrate your ability to perform a thorough pre-trip inspection. However, long-term drivers have a tendency to forget essential checks before they get behind the wheel. Make sure that your pre-trip check includes inspecting the brake hoses for cracks, and the liners to make sure that it is the appropriate thickness. During your inspection, you should also make sure that the slack adjustors are properly lubricated, and that the application pressure falls within acceptable levels. While the pre-trip inspection process is tedious, it can reveal a wealth of information about the truck’s safety on the road. At the first sign of a problem, make sure to arrange for prompt certified auto repair services to prevent accidents.

 

As a truck driver, you have a responsibility to make sure that your rig is always up to the highest level of safety standards. Set up regular brake maintenance visits and keep an eye on the system in between repairs so that your truck is always road-ready.