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There are many fears that drivers might develop when it comes to getting behind the wheel. Some experience trauma after experiencing accidents. Others are simply too afraid of being responsible for the lives of their loved ones, whilst a select few dread the day their car might break down on the road.
If a car breakdown is a latent fear of yours, we’re here to help combat your anxiety with some knowledge: Here are 5 crucial steps to take following a car breakdown.
1. Keep calm
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We understand how frightening it is to have your vehicle fail on you, especially if you’re on a busy road, or highway. Yes, your car might’ve stopped working, but your kopitiam isn’t on fire, our flag is still white and red, and Jamus Lim is still alive. The only thing worse than having a car breakdown is having a mental breakdown, so keep your chill on, and move on to step two:
Do not: Start swerving like you’re in an action film. Keep. Your. Head. On.
2. Get your car to the side of the road
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Before we do anything else, find a safe space to stop your vehicle. If you’re on the highway, head toward the road shoulder and park in the far left lane to be as safe as possible. If you’re on the road, find the safest and least obstructive spot to park. If you find yourself stuck in the middle of traffic, smoothly stop your vehicle. Do ensure that your car is in neutral or out of the gears so that it can be manually shifted or towed if need be.
Do not: Come to a sudden, screeching halt.
3. Check quickly for any fast solutions
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If your car has broken down due to a flat tire, a dead car battery or a lack of petrol, congratulations! Simply add some fuel, procure your spare wheel, or use a jumper cable, and Bob’s your uncle. To find out if it’s something you can fix quickly, check your car’s dashboard to take note of any warning signs.
Note: If you own a modern car that is controlled by a computer, then there’s close to nothing that you can do to fix an electronic failure. However, you can always reset your car’s engine computer by disconnecting the car battery for a few minutes, which will improve your vehicle’s functionality and help the whole process.
Don’t lock yourself out though! Some cars automatically lock once the battery is disconnected, so make sure to leave the doors and windows open, and your keys in your pocket.
Do not: Sit in your car for ages trying to fix unresolvable issues – Other drivers who aren’t being mindful could (touch wood) crash into broken down vehicles, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
4. Place your warning sign on the road
Once you’ve stopped your car safely, place your warning sign behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. A good distance to abide by is 10-15 metres away if you’re on an expressway, and 4-5 metres away if you’re on a normal road. If you do not have a warning sign, use a bucket or box if you have one in your boot. If your boot’s completely empty, leave your boot open – this signifies that your car has broken down.
Oh, and turn on your hazard lights please.
- Forget that safety comes first
- Exit your vehicle like you’re superman on a tight schedule
- Stand behind your car and wave other drivers away
Place your sign too close, or too far away from your car
5. Call for assistance
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After all that, it’s now time to call for roadside assistance to bring your car to a workshop – that is unless you managed to start your vehicle up again, in which case, you have our heartiest congratulations.
If you’re on an expressway, do call EMAS @ 1800-CALL-LTA (1800-2255-582). They will assist you in towing your vehicle from the expressway to the nearest car park. Do note that you’ll still have to arrange for your vehicle to be towed to your preferred workshop after that, so if you don’t yet have a reliable tower in mind, check out (link to our towing page).
And that’s it, folks! Having your vehicle give up the ghost in the middle of the road is not a walk in the park, but we hope these 5 steps to follow during a car breakdown help keep you calm and steady.