Common Roadside Emergencies and How to Deal With Them
With more cars on the road, the need for breakdown cover has increased substantially in the last few years. We understand that a roadside emergency can be harrowing, especially for new drivers.
If you prepare for these common roadside dilemmas, then you won’t have to worry. But if you do suffer from one of the following incidents, then there’s always the emergency breakdown cover option.
Keep reading for our most common roadside issues and how to deal with them.
Puncture or flat tyre
One of the most common roadside problems is a punctured or flat tyre. You can’t control what is lying on the road, waiting for any car to drive over, but you can control how to repair a puncture.
Whether the puncture happens slowly or in a motorway blowout, then you need to keep calm.
Make sure you keep a tyre puncture repair kit in your car at all times. Think of it as a “roadside emergency survival kit”.
All you should need to repair the tyre yourself is a lug wrench, a jack, a spare tyre and a brick. Alternatively, good breakdown cover with a 24-hour service. If you are alone or stranded in a dangerous location, such as the side of a motorway or near oncoming traffic, we would always recommend you call for help.
Flat or faulty battery
Usually caused by a car doing a lot of shorter journeys, a flat battery is another common roadside situation that drivers can suffer from. Jump leads are another emergency roadside kit must-have.
To keep the battery charged, take your car for a longer drive. Ideally use the motorway, as this gives the battery a continuous surge of electricity, helping to regain its charge.
If you’re leaving your car standing for days at a time, then remember to turn off all electrics in the car, including interior lights (front and boot), the radio, and your headlights.
If you’re going to try and recharge your battery using jump leads, then be careful.
Follow the steps below, but if in doubt, then call a professional.
- Turn off the ignition and any electronics in both cars.
- Connect the positive cable clamp (the “+”) on it to the good car first, and then the dead one.
- Connect the negative cable clamp (the “-“) to the DEAD CAR FIRST and then the good car.
- Start the good car and let it run for at least five minutes.
- Try to start the dead car with the cables still attached. If this doesn’t work, then call your breakdown provider for help. They are the professionals, and it’s their job.
Another of our common roadside emergency problems is fuel running out. We’ve all seen the cars abandoned at the side of the road, hazards flashing and the owner trudging down the motorway with a fuel-can swinging by their side. It doesn’t look fun does it?
Just remember, if you’re planning a longer journey, then it is better to be safe than sorry. Fill up your car before you leave, and you shouldn’t have a problem. Just make sure you put the right fuel into the car otherwise it’s a costly mistake!
Equally as traumatising is an overheating engine. If you’ve never experienced it before, then the clouds of steam (or smoke) billowing from under the bonnet can be a shock.
We know it’s hard to do, but just keep calm and pull into a safe place. As soon as it’s safe to do so, turn off the engine, hazard lights on and pop open the bonnet. You need to let the engine cool down completely before going any further.
If you’re going to try to solve the problem yourself, then check the oil levels once the engine has cooled. On the dipstick, the levels should be in the “full” section.
Check the coolant levels. If the reservoir is running low, then top it up with anti-freeze and coolant. Check underneath the reservoir for any leaks, and if you do find one, don’t panic.
With most emergency breakdown cover policies, the provider will be able to send someone out to help you. If there is a serious problem, then they should be able to tow you to the nearest car garage for repairs.
Getting stuck (in the mud)
You won’t need many tools for this problem, just your foot; some patience, the car and (if possible) a “willing” volunteer.
Getting stuck in the mud whilst on a journey can be irritating, but if you panic and start revving and steering erratically, you can make the situation worse.
Keep reading for how to free yourself from the mud.
- Put the car in first gear (or Drive for an automatic) and gently press down on the accelerator. Don’t be tempted to put your foot to the floor just yet.
- Keeping the speedometer under 15mph, get the wheels moving enough to give the car forward movement.
- Take your foot off the accelerator and let the car roll backwards again
- Accelerator down again, keeping the mph low so the wheels don’t spin into the mud even more
- Keep repeating the forwards and backwards motion until the car has enough momentum to drive out of the mud.
- Failing that, just call for help.
If you’re planning a long journey soon and are worried about some of these common roadside emergencies happening to you, then don’t be.
We do provide car hire in North Shropshire and South Cheshire and all of our vehicles come with 24/7 emergency breakdown cover. We also offer our own emergency 24/7 helpline manned by Fourways staff to offer extra support, designed for your peace of mind.
Hopefully you’ve found our advice useful, and if you have, please do get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to walk through how we can help you avoid a stressful journey and stay safe on the road.