A vehicle that suddenly stops in the middle of a highway is a nightmare for many drivers. Drivers take all sorts of precautions to ensure that their vehicle runs smoothly. However, cars break down all the time.

A car is a complex machine, and breakdowns can happen for several reasons. At times the car’s battery or the fuel runs down. In some other instances, there might be a problem with the electrical wiring or a leak in the fuel pump. Drivers should always be prepared for emergency situations regardless of the reason for a car breakdown.

Hence it is prudent to have the contact details for a garage and a towing service in case a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. If you need vehicle towing in Sacramento, California, you can visit the website of AJ’s towing services.

11 Simple Steps To Take When Your Vehicle Breaks Down In A Highway

1. Try To Stay Calm


If your vehicle breaks down in the middle of a busy highway, it is unlikely that you will not be nervous. However, it is essential to stay calm if you want to save the situation. Always remember that a highway is a busy road with large trucks and vans moving at full speed. Hence, if you get nervous, you may commit a mistake that might cost you your car or your life.

2. Try Looking For A Breakdown Lane

A breakdown lane is a narrow side lane created near busy and important roads like state and national highways. Drivers are expected to park their cars in these lanes in case of an emergency. So if you can sense that your vehicle is about to stop, then it is a good idea to start looking for a breakdown lane. If you cannot find any such lane, you should at least try to park the car on the side of the highway.

3. Do Not Press The Brake Suddenly


When parking a damaged car, it is crucial not to press the brakes suddenly. If the brakes are applied suddenly, then it creates stress in the vehicle’s rotors, and this stress can cause unwanted heating. Unwanted heating in the internal components of a vehicle is terrible news. It might aggravate the car’s defect, and you might have to end up paying more money to get your vehicle repaired. Thus, you should deaccelerate the car slowly before stopping the car.

4. Use The Hazard Indicator Lights

Every vehicle comes with lights that indicate an emergency situation. However, most drivers do not know how to use them properly. Hazard indicator lights should not be used while driving in low visibility or while passing through a dark lane. Wrong indicators might confuse other drivers. However, if you have a flat tyre or if your engine is jammed, then you should definitely use the hazard indicator lights.

5. Call A Public Helpline


If your car has broken down in the middle of an important road, then you should call the traffic police. The traffic police will quickly reach the spot, and they can help you by contacting a nearby garage or a towing service.

6. Contact A Towing Service Yourself

If your car has broken down in your own city, then you might call the towing service and the mechanic yourself before contacting the traffic police.

7. Call Your Insurance Agent


If your vehicle has comprehensive insurance coverage for a car breakdown, you should immediately call your insurance agent. An insurance agent will be able to give you a heads-up about the limits of your policy and what kind of damage it covers.

The insurance companies sometimes have a limited number of empanelled mechanic shops or towing services. So if you want to get reimbursed, then you should make sure that your damaged vehicle gets towed or repaired by a company that is covered by your insurance policy.

8. Do Not Abandon The Vehicle

On a busy highway, it is always better to stay inside the vehicle rather than stand outside. Your vehicle will have the hazard lights on, and it will be easier to spot for other vehicles that are moving on the highway. So you should sit inside your car until help arrives.

9. Inform Your Family


While you are waiting for help to arrive, you should inform your friends and family because towing, repairing etc., will take some time.

10. Do Not Experiment

It is vital not to experiment with the car before a professional mechanic arrives. If you have a flat tire, then you can change the tire with a spare tire. Again, if the engine has become very hot due to speeding, then you can try to cool the engine down by pouring water on its surface. However, if it is something more serious, it is better to wait for a professional mechanic to come, diagnose a problem and then repair it as well.

11. Do Not Abandon The Car When Help Arrives


It is important to stay with the damaged car even after help arrives. Only you have all the information regarding your car. Also, you need to negotiate with your insurance agent to get the best deal. You might have to look for a cost-free garage, negotiate with the towing company etc. You should only leave the spot after you have spoken to the mechanic, the towing agent and the traffic police as well.


Modern technological advancements have made it easier to deal with sudden breakdowns. Nowadays, people can easily find help from a nearby garage or a towing service using GPS and mobile phones that have good internet connectivity.

Modern vehicles also come with in-built systems that can spot problems in the engine, clutch or brakes and switch on an appropriate indicator to warn the driver. Modern cars with the latest technology definitely help to deal with emergency situations in a better manner. However, it is essential for a  driver to be calm and composed if he happens to face an emergency in the middle of a busy road.