Breaking down isn’t something any motorist wants to happen, but breaking down in the middle of traffic is any driver’s worst nightmare. Here’s how to push your car safely if you break down on the road.
First thing’s first – turn on your hazard lights and assess where you are
After you’ve broken down, the first thing you want to do is turn on your hazard lights to warn motorists around you. Once you’ve done that, don’t get out of the car yet. Take a look around to assess your surroundings.
- If you’ve broken down on a rural road without much traffic, it will be much easier to push your car to the side of the road safely.
- Whether you can move your car safely on a mid-to-high traffic road will depend on the specific road and traffic conditions. That said, it’s best to err on the side of caution and play it safe if you have any doubt about whether other motorists will see you and/or your vehicle.
- If you’ve broken down on an interstate, the best thing to do is turn on your hazard lights, call your mechanic, and do not leave your vehicle since the risk of being struck by another motorist is exponentially higher on the freeway.
Other things to consider are whether you have someone to help you push your car, as well as how far you will have to push your car in order to get it to a safe place.
How to push your car safely
First of all, a few ground rules about pushing your car out of traffic:
- Do not try to push your car alone, as you won’t be able to steer, apply brakes as needed, and move the car at the same time.
- Never try to push your car uphill.
- Avoid pushing your car for a long distance. The sooner that you’re out of the way of traffic, the better. Stay in your car and call a tow truck if a safe place to push your car isn’t readily available.
- Don’t pull your car with a chain or rope, as you could easily lose control of the vehicle and injure yourself.
After you’ve made sure that you can push your car safely out of the way, decide where you’re going to push your car, then follow these steps.
- Turn on the ignition to the “on” position, even if your car won’t start. This step will unlock your vehicle’s steering wheel so that you can maneuver the vehicle out of traffic.
- Roll down your driver’s side window so that people both inside and outside the car can communicate instructions with each other. If the windows aren’t working due to a dead battery, have the person inside the vehicle crack open the door so that they can still communicate with the person behind the car.
- Put the vehicle into neutral. This will make it easier for the car to be pushed. If you cannot shift your vehicle’s gear due to an electronic brake-transmission shift interlock not working with a dead battery, it may be easier to call a tow truck instead of trying to bypass the system yourself.
- Release the parking brake if it’s engaged so that the person behind the car can move the vehicle.
- Place both hands on the back of the vehicle, typically the top of the trunk, and push the vehicle without straining your back. Don’t push from the sides, as you could run over your feet accidentally. Make sure to communicate with the people inside the car during this process.
- Once you’ve pushed the car to safety, shift the vehicle back into park, pull up the parking brake, and turn off the ignition. If you’re planning to wait outside the vehicle, do so at a safe distance from the car. If you’re planning to wait inside the vehicle, put on your seatbelt. Make sure your hazards stay on until the tow truck arrives.
Keep Your Car In Top Condition With T3 Atlanta
The best way to prevent a breakdown and having to push your car safely is to make sure your car is on its routine maintenance schedule. T3 Atlanta can help keep your Lexus, Infiniti, Toyota, or Nissan on the road with fast and friendly service at our two metro Atlanta locations. Give us a call and we’ll pen you in for an appointment!