Besides calling your dad if your car breaks down on the roadside, do you know what else you should do?

In reality, for most of us, it isn’t feasible to call a family member or friend to help us when we have car trouble. Even if someone can meet you on the side of the road, what are you going to do with your car?

Roadside Safety

The first thing you should do if your car breaks down is put on your vehicle’s hazard lights. This will make you more visible to passing cars, and signal there’s a problem. You can turn on your hazards at the first sign of trouble, or after you’ve safely maneuvered your vehicle out of traffic. Here’s what our Ogden car repair experts at Master Muffler suggest you do next.

Turn Your Wheels

Do you remember learning about turning your wheels in a certain direction for parking? In driver’s education, you were probably taught to turn your wheels away from the road when parking curbside. This is to help prevent your vehicle from rolling into traffic around you. If your car isn’t working properly, turning your wheels when parked is an added safety measure. The last thing you want to add to your potential car repair list is collision repair.

Set the Brake

Most vehicles have an emergency parking brake. It can be a lever, located between the two front seats, or a pedal you can push with your foot near the driver’s side door. Once you’re parked out of traffic, go ahead and employ the E-brake for additional security.

Stay in Your Car

You want to ensure your car is parked safely with hazards and the E-brake because it’s recommended you stay inside while awaiting assistance. Unless you’re on a deserted road or were able to pull out of traffic to a well-lit parking lot, it’s best to sit it out inside your car. If you do have to exit your vehicle, try to do so on the side away from traffic, putting your car between yourself and the road.

As an added tip, you might consider having pieces of reflective clothing in your vehicle, so if you have to get out of your car at night, you’re a little more visible to passing motorists. Having a headlamp, flashlight, and reflective triangles to place on the road around you can also increase your likelihood of being seen. Even popping open your hood can make your vehicle more obvious to other drivers. However, if you don’t feel comfortable getting out of your vehicle to do so, it’s not necessary.

One caveat to this rule is when you see smoke or flames, you need to get out of your vehicle. Putting distance between yourself and your overheating car is usually safer than staying put behind the wheel. 

Make the Call

Once you’re parked out of traffic and have done what you can to make yourself more obvious to others, call for help. Thankfully, most of us have cell phones with us at all times, so you can conveniently call non-emergency police, a tow truck, or other roadside assistance.

In Ogden, the non-emergency police department is located on Lincoln Ave, and their number is 801-395-8221. If you break down on the highway, you could call Utah Highway Patrol, AAA, or a local towing company. Just know that these services will probably cost you, but so will abandoning your vehicle on the roadside. 

How Long Can I Leave My Car on the Highway?

According to Utah Highway Patrol, you could have as little as two hours to remove an abandoned vehicle from the interstate before potentially facing fines. Their website states that if your vehicle has been moved all the way off the paved parts of the highway, the window of time can increase to 24 hours. If you need to schedule Ogden car repair after breaking down on the road, you may need to call for a tow truck to get you to a shop sooner rather than later to avoid UHP fines. 

When to Call 911

Of course, if you’re involved in a collision, you can call 911 for an emergency response involving fire trucks (to mitigate any potential vehicle fires), an ambulance, and police.

Before you find yourself needing roadside assistance, contact your auto insurance company to see if they offer anything with your coverage. Then you’ll know right off the bat which services are included with your coverage, or require a deductible/copay. Or, consider subscribing to a roadside assistance program such as the following:

  • AAA
  • AARP
  • Allstate Motor Club
  • American Express
  • Better World Club
  • Geico
  • OnStar
  • Progressive
  • USAA

Whether you need routine Ogden car repair or unscheduled maintenance due to a breakdown, Master Muffler is here to help. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 801-938-8037.