You’re driving down the road and then it happens when you least expect it — you have car trouble. No one ever really expects to run into a problem with their car, but according to AAA, a record 32 million people called the roadside service for help in 2015. With so many driving hazards out there, you can quickly find yourself on the side of the road if you’re not prepared. Here’s a look at some things you can do to prepare for car trouble and stay safe when it happens.
The single most important thing to do when you’re having any sort of car trouble is to get your vehicle safely off the road. Try to pull over into an area where you can get out and inspect your vehicle without blocking traffic or putting yourself in danger. Even if you’re in a traffic accident, both you and the other driver should move your vehicles off the road to allow traffic to continue to move. If you’re not able to get your vehicle safely off the road, it’s best to stay inside it until help arrives.
Once your car is off the road, it’s important to make sure other drivers can see you and know that there is a car ahead that is being repaired. Keep a set of flares or triangles in your trunk to mark where you’re located. It’s also a good idea to put your hazard lights on before you get out of your car.
In the event of a flat tire or dead battery, you can most likely fix it yourself and be on your way. Your vehicle comes equipped with a spare tire and jack, but sometimes a simple can of Fix-A-Flat is the way to go. It can get a leaking tire sealed and pumped up enough to get you to a repair shop. It’s also helpful to keep a roadside emergency pack in your car. These typically contain jumper cables, some first aid items and other things that you might need on the side of the road to get your car going again. Finally, a jump pack is always a great thing to have in case your battery dies and needs a jump.
Call for Help
If the breakdown consists of more than a flat tire or dead battery, or if you don’t feel up to fixing it yourself, you can always call for help. Services like AAA are on call 24/7 to send out help when you need it most. You can also check with your car’s maker — many offer roadside assistance to their customers and even have features built into their vehicles to assist in calling for help.
Suffering a breakdown on the side of the road is never an enjoyable experience. Whether it’s a flat tire or worse, it’s important to get your car safely out of traffic before you call for help or make a repair. There are plenty of products available that you can keep in your car to provide a quick fix and additional safety when one of these driving hazards eventually occurs.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to prepare for driving hazards, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.