1. Make sure you are safely off the road.
Your first thought when faced with an emergency while driving should always be your personal safety and the safety of any passengers. If your car is still drivable, you should seek a safe place to pull off the road. Look for emergency pull-offs, wide shoulders, open lighted parking lots, rest areas or exit ramp. Make every effort to separate yourself from traffic. Avoid pulling off paved shoulders onto grassy areas, there may be hidden dangers that will make your situation worse.
2. Assess your Surroundings
If you are not able to drive to a safe place that is away from traffic, immediately turn on your hazard lights. Turn off the vehicle and do no use unnecessary power. Ask all passengers to remain in the vehicle until their safety can be assured. Take a few moments to determine if exiting the vehicle is safe. If not, consider moving the vehicle to a safer location, even if it means creating further damage. Remember your safety is paramount.
3. Notify someone
While you are still in your vehicle, notify someone that your are in distress. If you have roadside assistance, you should place that call immediately. Most roadside assistance responses can take over an hour and the sooner you call the faster they will be in route. It may also be advisable to notify a family member or your employer, depending on the situation. Remain clam and notify all the appropriate persons. Keep in mind that if your vehicle is towed, you will need a ride home.
4. Safely exit the vehicle
Never exit the vehicle into or near traffic. As mentioned before, you should male every attempt to move a safe distance from traffic to avoid interacting with moving vehicles. Consider exit the vehicle from the passenger side, if that helps avoid traffic. Always remian alert while outside the vehicle, dirvers will have a tendency to steer toward you as they look in your direction.
5. Make yourself as visible as possible
This is where proper planning becomes valuable. Business Travel Gadgets recommends several types of road side emergency kits for your vehicle. Place road flares or reflective hazard triangles in the direction of oncoming traffic, if any. Be sure to place these devices a fair distance from the vehicle. Give on coming traffic adequate time to know you are there. Vehicles travel a great distance in a short period, make sure they have time to notice you.
6. Make an Assessment of your vehicles problem.
Your vehicles problem may of may not be obvious. Perhaps you have a flat tire, which should have been immediately apparent. Or your vehicle may be overheating and steam could be rising from beneath the hood. On the other hand you may have no idea why your find yourself on the side of the road. Any information that you can ascertain from your vehicles condition of recall from the moment your issue developed will be helpful when assistance arrives.
7. Stay with your vehicle and expect phone calls
Assistance is on the way, so remain with your vehicle. Additionally it is likely that the roadside service will contact you wiht updates on the ETA of help. In may cases the driver of the tow truck or service vehicle will contact you personally. Give them an accurate description of your location and vehicle.
8. Determine if your passengers are comfortable
Check on any passengers periodically and do your best to keep them inside the vehicle. When your passengers exit the vehicle they may have a tendency to wander and you have enough on your mind. You don’t want to be worried about keeping everyone corralled. Ask if everyone is comfortable and offer any assistance if possible.
9. Raise your hood
Lifting your hood alerts others that your are in need of assistance. Even if you have a flat tire, you should raise the hood of your vehicle. A passing police officer will be more likely to stop if you are clearly in distress.
10. Be cautious when strangers offer help
What appears to be a good samaritans may not have the best intentions. It is unfortunate but you can never be too careful. Keep your vehicle doors locked, if you are inside and avoid being alone with a stranger. If possible call someone and keep them on the phone while you speak to anyone who stops.
11. Gather any belongings
Start collecting any valuables that are in the vehicle. It is very possible that your vehicle will be towed and you will want to remove anything of value while the vehicle is being repaired.
12. Write down the location of your vehicles destination.
Make sure you have, in written form, the service center where your vehicle will be towed. Most drivers will be prepared with this information in the form of a card or service ticket, but be sure you understand where it is being taken.