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12 things to do if your car breaks down

2015-01-12 03:40

STAY CALM: Our helpful tips will you overcome the perils of your car breaking down. Pictured here are two things you shouldn't do - getting out of your vehicle and attempting repairs if you're unskilled. Image: Shutterstock

Whether you're heading out on vacation, returning from a long trip, or going to work, a vehicle breakdown can strike at any time.

Robyn Farrell, 1st for Women Insurance’s executive head, said: “In the event of a breakdown forcing you to stop your car it is vital to remain vigilant and follow basic safety procedures.”

So, here are her 12 top tips to follow should it happen to you...

  • Switch on your hazard lights.
  • If possible, pull into the emergency lane or on to the shoulder of the road (as far left as possible).
  • Make sure your car is visible to other drivers.
  • If you haven’t managed to move your car to the shoulder and are worried it might be hit by another car, get out of your vehicle when it is safe to do so and walk carefully to the side of the road. Ideally, however, you should remain in your car with the doors locked.
  • Call for professional emergency assistance. Most insurers offer emergency roadside assistance.
  • Make sure you give all the relevant details of your position so that you can be quickly and easily located by emergency professionals. Ensure that you stress the fact that your car has broken down and that you are vulnerable.
  • Do not get out of your vehicle or flag down other fellow drivers.
  • If you're not skilled do not attempt any repairs.
  • Do not open the bonnet of your car: this will block your view and you won’t be able to see if anyone is approaching.
  • Watch and wait for professional emergency assistance.
  • Do not accept help from anybody except a uniformed police officer, metro officer or other emergency personnel. Most major highways and roads are patrolled.

These are dangerous times, Farrell says, and a breakdown is more than just an inconvenience, it can be life-threatening.

“Always ensure that your car is properly maintained," she advised, "and that you have enough petrol in your tank to reduce the risk of running out of fuel.

“Be prepared for any eventuality. Memorise, or carry with you, the roadside assistance numbers of your insurance provider and the metro police. Make sure that your cellphone is fully charged so that you are able to call for help.”

Have you ever been in such a situation? Email us here at Wheels24 with the details - and the outcome - and comment in the section below.

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