What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down

annoyed young driver looking at his broken down car
Post by The Jeenee Co-Pilot Team

Modern cars may give young drivers a sense that a breakdown is an unlikely event but, no matter how new your car is, there is always a chance that it could break down. As a new driver, preparing for a breakdown might be the least of your worries but it is very important for all drivers to be prepared for a breakdown and understand what steps should be taken to make sure you remain safe in a break down situation.

Stopping The Car

  • Where possible, pull your car over to a safe location, as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Immediately, turn on your hazard light, as well as your parking light in bad light.
  • Assess the situation and what options you have available to you to get out of the car.
  • If it is safe to do so, pop the bonnet on the car to give other drivers on the road another visual que that your car has broken down. Hopefully they will drive more slowly around your car.
  • Do not push your car out of traffic.
  • If you have a flat tyre, do not attempt to change it while stopped on the road – this is very dangerous. Drive your car on the flat tyre to a safe location, such as a car park, first.
  • Make sure the car has come to a complete stop, the hand break is on and you have turned off the engine before you use your mobile phone to call for help.

Getting Out Of The Car

  • Only get out of your car if it is safe to exit.
  • Exit your car on the side where there is the least traffic – this most likely will be the passenger side and may require you to move seats as you get out.
  • If you need to remain in your car, wear your seatbelt at all times.

Waiting For Help

  • Always stay calm, focussed and aware of your surroundings.
  • Face yourself to view oncoming traffic – especially when using a phone – so you can see what is coming towards you.
  • Say behind any road barriers and stay as far away from the traffic as possible, in a safe area.
  • On hot days, look for shade so you can avoid the sun.

Have A Breakdown Kit

  • Have a charged mobile phone. Most people would have a mobile phone in their bag but get into the habit of checking the charge on your phone before you drive so you are not caught short.
  • Consider a phone charger cable or power bank. A power bank is a great way to make sure you are never caught short.
  • Take a 1L bottle of water. Keep a bottle water in your boot just in case you need water for your car but if you are standard on the side of the road, you can drink the water or cool yourself with it, if needed.
  • Handy and helpful items to consider keeping in your car in case of a breakdown: cleaning rags, a raincoat, a high-vis vest, a picnic rug, head torch (works better than the torch on your phone), reflectors and a Jeenee Co-Pilot to help others locate your car in an emergency.
  • A very important tip is to make sure you regularly service your car. Responsible drivers, including P-plate drivers keep their cars servicing up to date to help prevent avoidable breakdown situations. Don’t ignore warning lights on your car.
  • Have a copy of the Breakdown Safety Glovebox Guide, written by NSW Transport as a guide. That way, when you are under stress, you’ll be able to remember all these tips.

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