Unexpected breakdowns are more than just an inconvenience; they can be stressful and time consuming, especially if you have to have your car towed. While no one can plan for a breakdown, you can plan ahead to minimize the stress associated with the situation. Here are some tips to help take the stress out of dealing with a breakdown that results in having to get your car towed.
Keep safety in mind
First and foremost, have a plan to keep yourself and your passengers safe if you break down in traffic or on a busy road. Don't stand outside of your car if the traffic is heavy, and if at all possible, get your car away from traffic in a safe waiting spot. Put on your hazard lights, and set up reflective triangles to warn other cars of your predicament.
Get in the habit of always keeping a first aid kit, spare blanket and water in your car. If you break down during the winter, the blanket can keep you warm until help arrives, and the first aid kit and water could come in handy if you injure yourself while trying to repair your car.
If you break down in the middle of nowhere, rely on your cell phone
This scenario can be the most stressful of all, because you may not be able to get a signal on your cell phone depending on your location when you break down. Before you panic, realize that any functioning cell phone, even one without service, can call 911. Even calls that don't go through to the emergency service can help authorities locate you, so keep a phone and a car phone charger in the glove compartment box at all times and you'll be able to reach help wherever you go.
Save money on towing with an auto club or other provider
For many people, the most stressful aspect of breaking down is the cost associated with having the vehicle towed as well as any repair costs that are incurred afterwards. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can reduce the cost associated with car towing after a breakdown.
Use your insurance company to find towing assistance. Call your auto insurance company and ask for a referral to a local towing company. If your insurance policy includes towing benefits, you may be able to get the car towed very inexpensively, possibly even for free, depending on your policy.
Use the benefits of an auto club. Auto clubs offer pre-paid plans that help cover the expense of towing your car after a breakdown or accident. These clubs often offer additional benefits, such as discounts on accommodations and even coverage for meals if you are stranded away from home due to your breakdown.
Check with your credit card company. Some offer coverage for towing when you use your credit card to pay the bill.
All of these can help take the stress and the financial sting out of paying to have your car towed, but they need to be in place before you actually need to use their services.
Have a backup plan
If having your car break down means missing work or other important events, it can add a great deal of stress to the situation. If possible, have a backup plan in place in case your car troubles threaten to impact important events in your schedule. Make arrangements with a friend or family member to collect you and get you to your destination, keep your important contact numbers with you or in the car and always be sure to keep a cell phone handy to make the calls, and you'll feel more in control during this stressful situation.
While you can never plan when a breakdown will occur, you can plan to handle the stress and keep yourself safe when one happens. Keep these tips handy so you can keep your cool if your car breaks down unexpectedly.