What To Do When Your Car Breaks Down On The Highway: Top Tips To Get You Through This Stressful Situation


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Many of us drive on highways every single day to get to work. Living in major cities in South Africa means we are used to hitting the highway to get somewhere. But what should you do when your car breaks down?

A little preparation can really go a long way in a situation when your car breaks down on the highway.

Knowing what to do and how to handle the situation can save you and your passengers from the stress associated with a breakdown.

The biggest and most important thing to remember is that you need to remain calm throughout the experience.

Breaking down is not ideal and no one wants to have to go through something like that, but you should be prepared for if you are ever caught in this tricky event. 

Here’s what you need to know…

Before your car breaks down - be prepared

1. Regularly service your car and keep it in good shape

In a case like this, prevention really is the best way to ensure you are safe on our roads.

Make sure you keep up to date with your car’s services. We have written a helpful blog post on 5 signs your car might need a service.

2. Inspect your car on a regular basis

Check your tyre pressure, tyre tread, fluid levels, brakes, and have your car checked by a mechanic to ensure it is in good working order.

If you are planning a long road trip, then make sure you get your car inspected beforehand.

Here is a list of the top 5 checks you need to make.

3. Pack your car emergency kit

Even if your car is brand new and in great shape, breakdowns can still happen. This is why it is SO important for you to have an emergency car kit.

Here’s what your kit needs to contain:

●        Phone charger

●        Flashlight

●        First aid kit

●        Orange triangle

●        Jumper cables

●        Spare tyre

●        Jack

●        Tools to change a tyre

●        Water

●        Old towel

When your car breaks down: Deeps breaths and don’t panic

1. Brake carefully and with caution

When something goes wrong with your car, then you need to slowly take your foot off the gas and do not slam on the brakes.

If you can still steer your car, try to guide it off the road. Ensure you are out of the way of other cars.

2. Get off the highway

If there is a nearby highway exit, then take this and try and get to a nearby parking lot or open area.

If there is no exit nearby, or you cannot drive your car that far, then find a safe spot.

Try to get into the left-hand side of the highway to avoid speeding traffic in the right-hand lane.

Try to pull over on a shoulder or in the yellow lane.

3. Remain calm and take a moment to breathe

When your car breaks down, it can be both frustrating and stressful.

Take a moment to breathe and rationally think about the situation.

4. Make sure your car is visible

After pulling over.

Put on your hazards and turn off the car.

When you can safely get out of your car, then set out your orange triangle - you need to place your warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres behind your broken-down car on the same side of the road.

This will allow oncoming traffic to visibly see your car and warn them to slow down when passing you.

5. Calmy evaluate what’s wrong with your car

Once you have made yourself visible, then you need to evaluate the damage.

If it is a flat tyre, then you might be able to do this yourself.

In other cases, you might need to call for emergency assistance.

Which brings us to our next point…

6. Call for assistance

If you cannot repair your car, then you should phone for help.

If you have car insurance with Oneplan, then we include tow service cover up to R2500.

7. Be patient and wait

While you wait for help to arrive, ensure that you remain in your car.

Walking on the highway is dangerous and puts your life at risk.

Keep your hazards on and the triangle out on display.

Have a look at our driving tips for winter to keep you safe in cold weather conditions.

We hope you stay safe, remain calm and get the help you need if you are ever stuck with a broken down car.

If you are ever in an accident, then make sure you have vehicle cover to help take care of the damage costs, and better yet, make sure you have comprehensive car insurance for the best cover you can get.

Did we mention that at Oneplan we let you choose how much cover you want and at the price you can afford?

Yours in uncomplicated car insurance,


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