Sudden breakdowns can become a dangerous situation if not handled properly. Because breakdowns are so unexpected, drivers are usually ill prepared when they find themselves stranded on the side of the road. Taking the proper precautions for breakdown can help drivers and passengers get by unharmed.

If your car gives up the ghost while driving, find a safe spot on the shoulder to pull-over out of traffic. If the car is not drivable, enlist the help of someone to push it into a safe zone.

Insurance company Esurance advises drivers to turn on hazard lights, which will warn passing drivers that something is wrong. Hazard lights also may alert other motorists who might offer their assistance. Once your hazard lights are on, pop the hood, which can serve as an additional alert to other drivers. And turn the wheel away from the road and put on the emergency brake to help prevent the car from rolling.

Kristi Hearne at Road Runner Service Center and Tire provided some tips that are other warning signals for drivers.

“Along with putting your hazard lights on, you could put flares or reflective triangles behind your vehicle. You can also raise your hood or tie a white towel or rag to the antenna or hang it out of the window until help arrives,” she said.

AARP suggests placing three warning signals. The first should be 50 feet away and directly behind the vehicle. The other two can then be placed nearer to the vehicle.

Timmy Lester of Paul Lester’s Towing strictly suggests drivers stay inside their vehicle, as getting out, especially along a busy road, is just asking for more trouble.

“If they’re on the side of the road, just try to get off to a safe place and call for a wrecker service,” he said. “Turn your hazard lights on and stay in your vehicle because people will run over you. Stay in your vehicle, turn your hazard lights on and do not get out of your vehicle.”

Always call a roadside assistance service or towing company, he suggests. Most companies offer roadside assistance for a fee, and sometimes the service is available through vehicle dealerships or insurance companies.

Additional care should be taken to prevent frequent breakdowns. Getting regular car check-ups can ensure your car is working properly.

“In order to try to prevent a breakdown, you should regularly check your tires air pressure, tire tread wear and your vehicle’s fluids. Even with all these precautions, breakdowns still happen, so it is wise to carry an emergency roadside kit with you. You should also make sure your spare tire is in good condition and you have your jack and lug wrench in case of a flat. It is also handy to have a flashlight with good batteries with you. Jumper cables can come in handy too,” Hearne said

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