Breaking down on a busy road is never a pleasant experience. It can however be made even worse if you are not prepared and don’t understand the essential road safety guidelines that apply when you’re stuck on the side of the road. This article takes a look at some pre-emptive steps that you can take to be prepared for a breakdown, as well as some advice on how to handle yourself when you’re stuck on the shoulder of the road.
Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail
Long before you’ve even realized that your vehicle is no longer able to travel any further down a particular road, you need to make sure that you are prepared for this situation. Here are road safety preparation tips that will help make the inevitable occurrence just that little bit less of a nightmare:
Preparation starts with maintaining a healthy vehicle:
– Ensure that you stick to your service plan!
– Check your oil
– Check your water
– Check your tires
– Check your spare tire
All the above steps should be carried out before any lengthy journey
Prepare a road safety kit that you can carry with you in your car at all times. The kit should include the following items:
– Reflective triangle road safety signs
– Traffic cone
– Cell phone
– Jumper cables
– A tow rope
– Portable air compressor
– First aid kit
Know how to behave on the Side of the Road
If you do find yourself stuck on the side of a busy road, you need to make sure you adhere to a few road safety tips as this is not the safest place to find yourself in. Road safety campaigns around the country have long been trying to alert the public about these tips as too many people are falling victim to accidents related to road safety tips being ignored when stuck on the side of the road.
So here we go, a few things to remember if you find yourself stuck on the side of the highway:
– DON’T PANIC!
– If possible, make your way over to the left hand side of the road and do not stop on the right hand shoulder (this applies to where drivers drive on the left hand side of the road).
– Avoid stopping on or near bends in the road. Make sure you are visible from ideally 100 meters in each direction.
– Pull over as far as you possibly can. You will be amazed by how many cars get hit when parked beside a road, especially on older roads with poor road markings that aren’t as visible as they should be.
– If you need to change a tyre, do your best to stop on a flat road that is not an incline.
– Stop with your wheels pointing towards the barrier (A very important road safety tip). In the event that your car starts to roll, this way it will roll into the barrier not into the line of traffic.
– Turn on your hazards immediately
– Make sure all passengers get out of the car and stand at a safe distance from the road.
– Open your bonnet to show other drivers that you are broken down and not just stopped next to the road, this way road safety officers will also be able to identify you and come to your rescue.
– Tying a white cloth or t-shirt to your driver side door handle can help alert other drivers.
– Use the road safety cones and reflective triangles that you have in your road safety kit. Place these at a considerable distance behind your car so that oncoming traffic has lots of time to react.
– If the problem is serious and you are unable to fix it in a short amount of time, do not try and be a hero, call roadside assistance immediately and get them to sort the problem out as they are better equipped with road safety equipment for these exact situations.
Remember, it is all about being prepared, not just with the correct road safety equipment, but also the knowledge to deal with these situations. Spread the word, distribute this article amongst your friends and family and you can be assured your next breakdown will run much more smoothly.