A road trip is a fun and affordable way to travel on vacation until you find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Whether it’s just a flat or something more serious like transmission failure, nothing can grind your good time to a halt like car trouble. If your vehicle breaks down on your next road trip, here’s how to get the help you need.
Call a Friend or Family Member
The easiest and most affordable option when you run into car trouble is to call someone you know and trust. If your cousin, sibling or in-law happens to be handy with a wrench, now is the time to call in any favors. Even if you don’t have a mechanic in the family, you can still get someone to pick you up and give you a ride, so you don’t have to sit in your car and endure harsh temperatures.
See If You Have Roadside Assistance
Many automakers and car insurance companies include free roadside assistance with their products. Check your owner’s manual or your insurance policy to see if you can get free help with towing and roadside service. If you don’t have free roadside assistance, there are also many paid services you can call or subscribe to.
Contact Emergency Services
If you’re in a hazardous situation, someone is injured or there are no other options, it’s time to call emergency services. Consider using the police non-emergency number if the situation isn’t urgent and no one is hurt to save resources for those who are experiencing true emergencies. Many interstates also have signs posted with a number to call for assistance.
Walk for Help
If you don’t have a working cell phone or can’t reach other help, you may have to walk to the nearest service station for assistance. Make sure your vehicle is safely off the road with hazard lights flashing and the doors locked before leaving it unattended. Never leave children or pets alone in the car. Strangers may offer you a ride, but it’s safer to keep walking than to get into a car with someone you don’t know.
Although there are many ways to get help when your car breaks down, it’s also important to plan ahead. Before your road trip begins, have your car inspected and catch up on regular maintenance tasks like oil changes and tire rotation. Stock your trunk or cargo area with a first-aid kit, emergency food supplies, blankets, sunscreen and tools.