Roadside car emergencies are more common than we like to believe, and being prepared can make all the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major mishap.

In this blog, we’ll explore five of the most common roadside emergencies and provide you with practical, step-by-step advice on how to handle each situation safely. From changing a tyre to dealing with an engine overheating, our guide will give you the knowledge and confidence to manage these challenges effectively.

Even if you’re an experienced driver, these tips will help ensure that you’re never caught off guard on the road. Buckle up and let us explain how you can stay safe and prepared while driving!

1. Flat Tyres

Car emergencies, changing car tyres.
A closeup shot of a man repairing a wheel with a tool

A flat tyre can happen to anyone, anytime, which is why it’s important to learn how to handle it safely. Firstly, you’ll need to find a safe location to pull over, away from the traffic.

Then, turn on your hazard lights and apply the handbrake. When you’re safely parked, retrieve your spare tyre, jack, and wrench. Start loosening the nuts slightly before jacking up the car. Once it’s elevated, remove the nuts completely and replace the flat tyre with the spare.

Finally, tighten the nuts by hand, lower the car, and then fully tighten the nuts with the wrench. Don’t forget to check the pressure of the spare tyre and then drive cautiously to a repair shop. 

2. Engine Overheating

Car emergencies, man and woman watching smoking car engine.
Car engine overheating, smoke out from engine front hood man help to check with shocked woman driver

An overheating engine can be one of the most alarming car emergencies, but staying calm is the key to dealing with it. Start by pulling over safely and turning off the engine immediately to prevent further damage.

Then, open the bonnet carefully to let the heat dissipate and remember to be cautious of the steam. You’ll have to wait at least 30 minutes before touching the radiator cap as opening it while hot can cause serious burns. Check the coolant levels and add more if necessary. However, if coolant isn’t available, water can be a good temporary solution.

Then, you can restart the engine and monitor the temperature gauge. If the problem continues, you’ll have to call for roadside assistance. You should only drive if the temperature returns to normal, and make sure to head directly to a mechanic.

3. Dead Battery

Car emergencies, recharging car batteries.
close-up At a service station battery in a car with tongs connected for charging the battery

A dead car battery can leave you stranded, but it’s still manageable with the right steps and equipment. Firstly, ensure that you’re safely parked in a secure location and turn on your hazard lights.

If you have jumper cables and a second vehicle is available, you can position it close enough for the cables to reach both batteries. Then, attach the cables in the correct order: red to the positive terminal on both batteries, black to the negative terminal on the good battery, and the other black to an unpainted metal surface on your car.

When you’re ready, start the working vehicle, then try starting yours. Once it’s running, remove the cables in reverse order and keep your engine running to recharge the battery.

4. Brake Failure

Car emergencies, car brake disc.
Rusty back car wheel hub with brake disc at tire shop. Car without wheel while replacing on the tire service center

Experiencing brake failure can be terrifying, but quick thinking can keep you safe. Firstly, don’t panic, then start pumping the brake pedal rapidly to build up brake pressure.

If that doesn’t work, shift to a lower gear to slow the vehicle down using engine braking. Make sure to use the handbrake gradually to avoid skidding. Then, steer smoothly and look for a safe area to pull over, away from traffic. Don’t forget to use your horn and hazard lights to alert other drivers.

Once you’ve stopped, do not attempt to drive the car again. Call for roadside assistance immediately and have your vehicle towed to a mechanic for a thorough inspection and repair.

5. Running Out of Fuel

Car emergencies, filling car fuel.
Car with gun in tank closeup, fueling on gas station, fuel refill, nobody. Petrol, gasoline or diesel refuel service, petroleum refueling

Running out of fuel while on the road can be rather inconvenient but it’s solvable. Start by safely steering your vehicle to the side of the road, away from traffic, and turn on your hazard lights.

Then, assess your surroundings and check for the nearest petrol station on your phone if you have a signal. If you’re in a safe area and within walking distance, you could consider walking to the station with a fuel can.

Alternatively, you can call roadside assistance or a friend for help. Make sure to always keep a spare fuel can in your boot for such car emergencies. Moreover, to avoid this in the future, make it a habit to refuel when your tank is one-quarter full to prevent running out unexpectedly.

6. Locked Out

Car emergencies, opening locked car door.
Closeup of driver hand opening car front door with touch ID finger imprint scanning technology. Vehicle safety concept.

Getting locked out of your car can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to manage this issue. Firstly, you have to stay calm and check all doors and the trunk to ensure they’re truly locked.

If you have a spare key at home or with a trusted person nearby, contact them. Additionally, many newer cars offer remote unlocking services through smartphone apps or roadside assistance programmes.

However, if these options are unavailable, you’ll need to call a professional locksmith. Don’t try to unlock the car yourself, as this can cause damage. To prevent future lockouts, you could consider keeping a spare key in a secure but accessible place and always double-check before locking your car.

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