Road trips can lead to adventure and discovery, as you explore new roads and regions on your way to your destination. Often, these roads wind through remote locations that ultimately feel like the middle of nowhere. If your car breaks down in an area that is hundreds of miles away from the nearest town, you should be prepared to handle the situation. With the proper preparation and course of action, you will feel safe and less stressed in case your car’s functionality falters. Here’s a guide of what to do if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere:
Ultimately, you don’t want to end up in a scenario where you’re stranded with a broken down car. You can reduce the risk of this happening by making sure your vehicle is in good working order. Before a long road trip, make sure basic things like the oil and coolant have been changed and your tires have been rotated. If you want to be extra cautious, you can take your car to your local mechanic for a tune-up where he or she can search for any anomalies. Additionally, a good rule of thumb is that your gas tank should always be more than halfway full, especially if you know you’ll be many miles away from nearby towns.
Assess the Situation and Surroundings
In the event that your car does break down, don’t panic. While it is an unfortunate event, you want to keep your wits about you so you can properly assess the situation and your surroundings. Take a deep breath and look around. Have you seen other cars while you’ve been on this stretch of road? Is it likely that a good Samaritan will drive by and can help? If you’re able to communicate with an auto service, look for crossroads or mile markers that will help determine your specific location. The Texas Department of Public Safety also recommends that you park on the shoulder of the road, turn on your vehicle’s flashers, and leave open the vehicle’s hood. This is good advice whether you’re in the Lone Star State or not.
Stay with Your Car
You should stay with your car to protect your valuables and have a shelter in case of unsafe environmental conditions. For example, if you’re in a colder region and snowfall is a possibility, you don’t want to be further stranded because you walked away from your car. And if you’re in a barren area, you don’t want to risk heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you saw a nearby gas station and feel like it’s a short trek, you should write down your information and leave it on the windshield or on the dashboard. Include your name, the date, the time you left, the direction you’re going, the names of anyone you’re driving with, and your vehicle’s plates.
Before you leave for your road trip, pack emergency supplies that will help you out when you’re in a pinch. Carry a car tool kit with you in your trunk in case your roadside breakdown is a simple fix. This could include some sockets, pliers, screwdrivers and hex wrenches. Additionally, you should have a first aid kit that can treat any injuries, an extra set of clothes and shoes, and some foil, thermal blankets that will keep you warm. Keep some emergency food in your car that is non-perishable, including bottled water, granola bars, hard candy, dried fruit and trail mix.
Once you’ve found help, immediately take your car to the nearest auto mechanic shop. Used car service contracts are important to reduce the amount of out of pocket costs when getting repairs. When preparing for your trip, look into investing in a contract from a company such as Protect My Car, which offers service plans that cover maintenance. Mentally prepare yourself for repairs to take at least a day or two in case the mechanic has to order parts. Doing so will allow you to embrace the unexpected and happily explore a city you otherwise might have overlooked.
Breaking down in a location that is hundreds of miles away from the nearest town is unnerving, but is a situation that you can easily prepare for and take pragmatic steps to remedy. With the right resources and steps, you can keep yourself safe and get your car fixed up and back on the open road. Good luck!