If your truck breaks down on the highway, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Panicking will not help the situation and may even make it worse.
Follow our 5-step guide below for instructions on what to do if your truck breaks down while driving. Following these simple steps can minimize the stress and chaos that typically follows such a situation.
#1 – Move your truck off the road
If possible, try to move your truck off the road and onto the shoulder. This will help to avoid any accidents that could occur if you were to remain in the middle of the highway. Use your hazard lights to warn other drivers of your presence and set up flares around your vehicle if you have them.
If you cannot move your truck off the road, do not try to force it. It’s better to stay where you are than to risk damaging your vehicle further or causing an accident.
#2 – Set up a warning signal
As we mentioned above, setting up flares or hazard lights is an excellent way to warn other drivers of your presence. If you do not have either of these, try to find something that can serve as a warning signal. For example, you could tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or hang a sign on the back of the truck.
Just make sure that whatever you use is highly visible and will not blow away in the wind.
If you have a reflector triangle, set it up behind your truck to warn drivers that there is a vehicle stopped ahead.
The most important thing to remember here is that the highway is full of fast-moving vehicles, and you need to set up a way to alert them that you’re not moving and you and your truck are a potential hazard. Make sure you do this in the safest way possible.
#3 – Stay with your truck
Once you have moved your truck off the road and set up a warning signal, the next step is to stay with your truck. Do not try to walk to the nearest exit or flag down another vehicle for help. It is always best to stay with your truck in such a situation.
If you must leave your truck for any reason, make sure to lock all the doors and take your keys with you. If possible, wait inside the truck’s cab, where it will be easier to spot oncoming traffic.
#4 – Call for help
If you have a cell phone, the next step is to call for help. If you are a member of a roadside assistance program, such as AAA, give them a call and let them know your location and the problem with your truck. They will be able to dispatch someone to come and help you.
If you’re working for a company, call them because chances are they’ll have your GPS location data and can fast-track the roadside assistance company because they’ll have all the details needed to confirm the case.
If you are not a member of a roadside assistance program, you can still call a tow truck to come and help you. Again, let them know your location and the problem with your truck so they can be prepared when they arrive.
If you do not have a cell phone, or if you cannot get service in your location, the next best option is to flag down another vehicle and ask them to call for help.
Remember to stay with your truck until help arrives.
Don’t try and fix the truck yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s unsafe, and you risk injuring yourself with no one around to know you’re okay. Some trucks will be made with international truck parts, so even if you know about vehicles, you can never be sure.
It’s always best to wait for a professional, and then you can get involved with them if needed.
#5 – Take precautions
If you are stranded on the side of the road, you can do a few things to make the situation more bearable and stay safe.
First, if it is nighttime, turn on your interior lights so that other drivers can see you. Next, if you have a reflective triangle or flares, set them up around your truck to warn other drivers of your presence.
If it is cold outside, try to stay warm by bundling up in blankets or clothing. And if it is hot, open the windows and turn on the engine (if it is safe to do so) to run the air conditioning.
Finally, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
By following these simple steps, you can minimize the stress and chaos that typically comes with a breakdown on the highway. Just remember to stay calm and call for help as soon as possible.