Driving along one of the many scenic byways of Maryland that connect to Mt. Airy is a wonderful experience. Soaking in the gorgeous landscape of your mid-Atlantic state, it feels like nothing can bring your mood down. That is, until your car suddenly breaks down in the middle of the road.
You may think that a car breakdown is not something you’ll ever have to face. However, with over 69 million car breakdowns occurring nationwide annually, you can never be too sure. The most commonly reported problems are battery troubles, tire issues, electrical malfunctions, and engine problems. Besides, there are many reasons why a car may come to a halt.
Regardless of the reason, what matters is that you keep a clear mind and focus on finding help. To help prepare you for such a situation, we’ve put together this guide on what to do when your car breaks down in the middle of the road.
1. Inspect the Vehicle
The first thing you should do in the case of a sudden car breakdown is inspect the vehicle. Immediately exit the vehicle and check the car for any external damage that may have led to the breakdown. If there is no apparent problem, ask the passengers riding with you to get out of the car and move away from the vehicle. Although a sudden breakdown may not be a serious issue, it’s better to be safe than be sorry.
2. Call for Help
The next thing to do is call for help. Use your mobile phone to call 911 and report the incident so that help may be sent your way. Next, find a roadside assistance helpline and call them. However, make sure you reach out to a company that provides roadside assistance in Mt. Airy, MD, so that if the need arises, they can send a tow truck to bring your car to a mechanic. Also, a professional will guide you to navigate through the situation on the spot.
3. Move off the Road
Once you’re certain that the vehicle will not go up in flames, try to move it off the road to avoid traffic disruption. If you can start the engine, work quickly to drive the car to the side of the road. However, if the car refuses to turn on, get your fellow passengers together and push it to the side. It is a crucial step, as a car stranded in the middle of the road can also cause an accident.
4. Check the Engine
In most cases of a car breakdown, the problem stems from within the engine. If you have basic mechanical skills and are confident in your abilities, check the engine. While a serious mechanical issue requires professional assistance, most car breakdowns can be handled with basic knowledge that anyone can learn, such as carrying out an engine check, changing a flat tire, and other basic car maintenance tasks. The process can be easier if you stay on the phone with the roadside assistance helpline and follow their instructions step by step. You never know; your engine may have only a minor hiccup, which you can fix and return to the road within minutes.
5. Note your Location
A stopped car can be difficult to find for others coming for assistance. Therefore, you must note your location, preferably your exact coordinates or address, so that help can reach you easily. It is especially pertinent if you exit the vehicle and move away from it, as you might later find yourself struggling to locate the car. A pro tip is to place any bright items or a piece of cloth with you in front of the vehicle to increase visibility.
6. Seek Shelter
The biggest problem with a car breakdown is that it can occur practically anywhere. You might find yourself stuck in the middle of the city center or stranded in a remote part of the highway. In either case, it makes sense to find a place where you can wait until help arrives. If your car has stopped on a highway or by way, look for any nearby gas stations or markets. If there’s nothing within your eye frame, quickly search on Google Maps and find the nearest place within walking distance.
7. Ask for Help from other Drivers
There is a possibility that your vehicle stops in an area where there are no signs of civilization for miles. In such areas, there is usually a higher safety risk. Therefore, you must take yourself and your fellow passengers to a safe place. You may find a traffic police car or motorcycle that can assist you. However, you can also use the thumbs-up hand wave to stop cars traveling on the same route and request them to drive you to the next gas station.
Preventing a Car Breakdown
Although you are well prepared to handle a car breakdown by now, it is best to avoid such an unpleasant circumstance. Especially with the summer heat due to hit Mt. Airy soon, a few quick maintenance checks will help decrease the likelihood of facing car troubles.
The Maryland Department of Transportation recommends a 5-minute walkaround of vehicles before the summer season to ensure that everything is in working order. By carrying out a short vehicle check, you can avoid an unplanned breakdown in the middle of the road and save on roadside assistance costs.
Check out this basic checklist you can follow to prepare your vehicle for the summer:
- Check the tires for any defects and holes and ensure the tire pressure is correct.
- Ensure your tank contains sufficient fuel or charge (in the case of electric vehicles).
- Carry out a quick check of the radiator and ensure it is in working order and there are no leaks.
- Ensure that the engine fluids, such as engine oil and brake fluids, are at the appropriate level.
- Check that all the vehicle lights are working properly, especially the taillights and headlights.
A car breakdown is certainly an inconvenience. However, it is hardly the end of the world. With the above guidelines and a little effort, you can easily face and navigate through a car breakdown without any stress. Ensure emergency numbers are saved on your phone, especially of a roadside assistance service provider. Moreover, you have subscribed for an Internet connection from your cellular network provider so that you can search for assistance nearby via Google Maps or send your current location for help.