What To Do When Your Car Breaks Down During A Road Trip

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A road trip can be fun and memorable, allowing you to explore new places and make unforgettable memories, whether alone or with loved ones. But your adventure can be cut short if your car gives up on the way. Sometimes, this can happen, even with all the preparations to ensure it’s ready for the journey. But in such instances, don’t fret yet because you’re in good company. Here is a helpful guide on what to do when this situation becomes your reality. 

1. Pull over and activate your hazard lights

First, when you sense something fishy going on with your four-wheeled companion, safety should be the foremost thing on your mind. Give those behind you a friendly wave by flipping on your hazard lights. Try to steer your ride slowly to a safe spot, not in the middle of traffic. Also, don’t forget to signal your moves using turn signals. Doing this helps reduce the likelihood of other cars bumping into you. If you can’t reach a safe corner, stay in your lane with those hazard lights on until help arrives. 

2. Keep your cool and assess the situation

When your car breaks down, please do your best to stay calm, as tough as it may be. Switch off the engine and shift your gear into park mode. It doesn’t hurt to take a few deep breaths to help you calm down if you’re panicking. Remember if your car dropped any hints before giving up the ghost. These include weird sounds, unusual smells, or your car not moving as smoothly as usual. If you don’t know where to look to identify any issues, don’t worry, as calling for help is a perfectly acceptable move. And this leads to the next point.

3. Contact roadside assistance or the towing service

If you already have a roadside assistance service provider, whip out your phone and dial their emergency hotline. They’ll send a professional to rescue you. Pro tip: When you call, have your policy number and location details ready to ensure a smoother process. If you don’t have a service provider you usually use, you can also contact 24/7 services like Action Towing. Such towing services are usually on standby and will swoop in to save the day while treating your car like royalty. 

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4. Be specific about your location

When you’re seeking assistance on the phone, be specific about where you are. Observe your surroundings to make it easier to drop some knowledge about nearby landmarks, mile markers, or the nearest exits. Help them locate you quickly, and if you’re feeling tech-savvy, use a GPS app to give them coordinates. Accurate location info is like the golden ticket for a speedy rescue operation. 

5. Kick back and stay put inside your ride

While waiting for your tow truck, stay inside your car with locked doors. It’s your fortress of solitude. Buckle up in case other travelers don’t notice your car and bump into you. And if it’s hot in your vehicle, open a window or two, but not all the way. Remember to stay alert and observe the area. Keep your phone handy for updates, and resist the urge to use it throughout, as you’ll need to save your battery for when you need it. 

6. Get your warning devices and your emergency kit 

Do you have those reflective triangles or road flares? Well, now’s their time to shine – literally. Set them behind your car to let others know you’re in a jam. This step makes a huge difference, especially when it’s dark or foggy. Remember to also pull out your emergency kit. Stock it with water, snacks, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and any meds you might need. It will make the waiting way more bearable. 

7. Reach out to your friends and family 

When your car decides to be the party pooper and breaks down on your road trip, don’t sweat it; your friends and family are like your road trip squad, even from afar. Just text them or call someone you trust. Doing this will help ensure you get your support hotline going quickly. It’s not just about keeping them in the loop; it’s about having that comforting connection during what can be a downright stressful moment. They can prove extra helpful if you need more advice or a pep-talk to help you stay calm. Or maybe you just want a friendly chat to kill time while you wait for your car’s rescue team. When the road trip throws a curveball, your loved ones can be your lifeline. So, no need to overthink it; they’re just a call away, always ready to lend a friendly ear or even swoop in with a helping hand if you need it. 

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8. Understand what you’re entitled to and explore your options

One thing you shouldn’t overlook when your car breaks down is the options available to you in such situations. It’s like having an unexpected detour on your journey, but knowledge is your GPS here. Depending on your car’s warranty or the specific situation, you might be in for some perks you didn’t know about. It’s like finding an extra cookie at the bottom of the jar – you won’t know it’s there unless you look. So, take a breather, chat with the mechanics, figure out what’s causing your ride’s little hiccup, and explore the options for getting back on the road. Whether fixing up your trusty car, renting a temporary vehicle, or deciding to call it a day and head home, knowing your options gives you the power to make the best decision for your adventure. After all, it’s your road trip, and you’re in the driver’s seat. 


Remember, a car breakdown on a road is like a speed bump in the grand adventure of life. Stay safe and calm, and rely on those towing and roadside assistance heroes. Follow these steps, and you’ll turn that “oh no!” moment into an “oh, well, life happens” experience. Now, go out there and keep chasing memorable road trip dreams.