4 Roadside Tips Everyone in Automotive School Should Know
We’ve all seen the poor guy on the side of the road, scratching his head with the car hood up trying to assess what went wrong. But is it prudent for him to look into it while standing so close to traffic?
Cars break down all the time, but where exactly the break down happens and how the driver reacts can make the difference between life and death. While a lot of car owners know how to perform a tire change and other simple fixes, many don’t stop to think if the circumstances at hand make it safe enough to do so.
With safety as a priority, here are four standard procedures every driver should practice if their car goes belly up mid-drive!
Get the Car off the Road ASAP
If a car is starting to break down, but can still move, the driver needs to get it off the road as soon as possible. Many accidents happen as a result of cars slamming into broken down cars left either on or too close to the road.
If the car is functional enough to run it to a nearby gas station or store parking lot, that would be the most ideal situation. If the car is in too rough a shape to move it that far, getting it onto the shoulder of the road or as far a distance from the road edge as can be managed is the next best thing, pushing it manually if necessary. If the situation happens on a curve, the driver should try to push their car past that point, so approaching cars have a chance to spot it properly and avoid a collision.
Using Markers and Hazards to Make the Vehicle Highly Visible
If you want to become a mechanic, you might have heard about the roadside kit. This kit will often contain warning markers such as flares, reflective tape, or a safety triangle. If a driver has any one of these at the time of a breakdown, they should place the caution marker a good six feet behind their vehicle to give the object optimal visibility.
If a driver doesn’t have any of the proper marker gear, trapping a white or bright coloured cloth, t-shirt, or even a piece of paper into a closed window is another way to grab the eyes of oncoming vehicles. Flicking on the car’s hazard lights is also a must, especially at night or in weather that reduces visibility.
Use Common Sense to Decide How to Proceed
It might seem like a good idea for a driver to change a flat tire themself if they have the know-how, but they’ll need to take stock of their exact circumstances before leaping into action. Even if they have some level of expertise, any procedure performed roadside can be extremely dangerous.
To know whether the event will be a quick roadside repair that a driver can do themself or whether to call in the pros will depend on the driver’s auto mechanics know-how, the tools they have on hand, and—above all—where the car is positioned. If the driver has managed to make it to a safe, well-lit area like a parking lot, they should be good to go.
When to Call Someone with Professional Auto Mechanic Training
If a driver couldn’t make it beyond the shoulder of a busy highway, it’s probably a better idea to call for help. Standing near a broken-down roadside vehicle is hazardous. If the car is off the road, it’s safer to sit in the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
A trained professional with auto mechanic training will be able to move the car to a safer location to quickly change a flat tire or give the car a jumpstart to get it back on the road quickly. Of course, if the nature of the breakdown goes beyond the quick-fix job, roadside assistance will also be able to tow the car to the nearest auto shop for more extensive repairs.
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