We rely on our cars day in, day out; so it can be stressful when something goes wrong. What should you do if your car suddenly breaks down out on the road?
At the first sign of car trouble, indicate, slow down smoothly and ease your car out of the traffic into the emergency stopping lane or to the side of the road.
If you're on a busy road, see whether you can coax your car to continue far enough to reach a quieter street or emergency stopping bay.
If you suspect you have a puncture then driving on a flat wheel may damage the tyre, but it’s well worth the risk to reach a safe spot to pull over.
Once you’ve stopped, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers to be careful and go slow.
Stay or go
Before phoning for help, you'll need to decide whether it is safer to stay in your car or to leave it.
If the engine dies right on the highway and you can’t get it off the road, don’t try to leave the car. Sitting in a dead vehicle with traffic piling up behind you is unnerving, but never attempt to cross high-speed traffic on foot. Keep your seatbelt fastened until help arrives.
Busy motorways are well patrolled and an emergency vehicle should soon arrive to help.
If you are pulled over on the side of a motorway, leave the car if you can walk to a safe place further off the road. Climb out on the side furthest from the traffic, and retreat up a bank or behind a barrier if you can.
If you are stranded in a very remote area with no traffic, don’t try to walk to the next town. Stay with your car and stay out of the sun. Be patient, stay positive and save your energy until help arrives.
If it is dark and you break down while you’re alone, you may be safest to stay inside your locked car until help arrives.
Check your spare wheel every few months to ensure it is inflated and ready to be used if you need it. Keep a safety kit in the boot of your car that includes a torch, reflective vest, jumper cables, basic tools and an empty petrol can.
If you regularly travel in remote areas, you should also carry a few extras such as a couple of litres of water and a space blanket.
Save in-case-of-emergency numbers in your phone.
A helping hand
A roadside assistance plan offers you peace of mind of knowing help will be at hand should you ever break down. When you take out Coles Car Insurance, you can choose to add Coles Roadside Assistance to your policy.
There's no limit to the number of assistance callouts you can make, and you get extensive coverage, 24 hours a day, Australia-wide. Our Roadside Assistance team can also coordinate accommodation, a hire car and towing for you if you’re ever faced with a breakdown or accident.
Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd (Coles) is an authorised representative of WFI Insurance Limited (ABN 24 000 036 279 AFSL 241461), the issuer of Coles Car Insurance and receives a commission for each policy sold and renewed. Any advice provided is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice you should consider its appropriateness. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement before deciding whether to acquire an insurance policy.