Research has revealed, that most drivers hit the panic button as soon as they get stranded due to a car breakdown. The first thing to do when your car breaks down is to not panic. Your car is a machine, and if it can break down, it can be surely fixed too. Below are a few DIY points to remember when you are in such a situation.
1. Signal the other drivers on the road that there is a stalled car – The first step is to ensure that the stalled car is parked safe and well within the line of sight of other vehicles. Indicators and warning /hazard lights should be turned on and if it is nighttime, cabin lights should also be kept on so as to warn other speeding vehicles across the highway.
2. Draw attention – To draw the attention of other drivers on the highway fixing a white cloth or pasting a white paper outside the driver’s window will help you indicate to other drivers that you are in trouble and awaiting assistance.
3. Turn the steering wheel away from the road – Drivers should immediately turn the steering wheel away from the road so as to ensure that the car does not suddenly roll into the line of traffic.
4. Do not get out of the vehicle – Especially while on the highway, drivers are warned not to get out from their vehicles and stand alongside the road. Vehicles across the Indian National highways travel well over 100 kmph and this could prove dangerous and sometimes even fatal to any person standing besides the road.
5. Call for roadside assistance – Most drivers have their cell phones with them. A quick call to the 24 hour helpline number or company service center or any other road side assistance would help solve the problem in the least amount of time and with minimum hardship. In the event of not being able to contact a service center, a request to passing drivers to contact the nearest service shop should be considered. A lot of insurance companiestoday offer roadside assistance. Reliance General for example, offers a complimentary road side assistance worth INR 500 on purchase of a car insurance policy.
6. Try to identify the problem – Experienced drivers, who have some knowledge of the engine functions can try locating the problem as to why the car stalled. A loose cable, a flat tyre, an overheated engine etc. could be managed efficiently without any professional help. Just remember not to exit on the side where there is oncoming traffic.
7. Exercise caution while taking help from strangers – Sadly it is true, especially on highways in India, strangers are lurking around every corner to con the hapless traveler. Though there are some people who offer genuine help, there are others who just want to make a quick buck and a helpless driver is an ideal candidate. Caution should be exercised with respect to whom to trust and not to. A call to the highway police or highway emergency number can also bring quick aid to the stranded driver.