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Emergency Break Down - What To Do... 

A breakdown can happen at any time, turning a routine drive into a stressful situation. Knowing how to handle a breakdown is crucial for your safety and the safety of your car or truck. Below we provide you with a step-by-step plan on what to do if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, weather traveling or here on Long Island.

Car broken down's can happen at any time, but if you are ready, if you are prepared, you can handle anyting.

Stay Calm and Signal Safety:

First off, an understatement, but something you have to do-  stay calm. Panicking won't help the situation. As soon as you begin to have trouble, car stalls, etc. Turn on your hazard lights immediately to alert other drivers that you are experiencing difficulties. Guide the car to the side of the road as soon as possible. This is not only important for the flow of traffic, but also for your safety. With your hazard lights on, move right, use your horn if necessary to alert drivers that you are in a desperate situation and need to move to the side of the road as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that if the engine has stalled you will most likely lose your power steering and also your power brakes. Leave the ignition in the on position. You will still be able to steer and use the brakes, though they will not be power-assisted, meaning it will be harder.  


Assess the Situation:

Before taking any action, assess the situation. Determine if your vehicle is in a safe location. If you are on a busy road, it might be safer to stay inside the vehicle, especially if you are unable to move it to a less congested area. When on the parkways of Long Island, get up on the grassy areas as far as possible to the right. The parkways don’t have break-down lanes to the left, only the right. The Long Island Expressway has a lane to the far right, and in some sections, the left, for emergency stopping. Get as far into this lane as possible as soon as you feel something going wrong with your vehicle.



Call for Assistance:

Reach out to a roadside assistance service such as us at Riverhead Road Rescue. Provide the dispatcher with your location, a brief description of the issue, and any other relevant information they may need.


Pop the Hood (If Safe):

If you're comfortable and it's safe to do so, pop the hood of your vehicle. This can signal to passing motorists that you are experiencing mechanical issues. You can also assess the issue, and determine if it is an overheating issue, loss of a drive belt, or electrical issue. A word of caution, DO NOT try to remove an overheated radiator cap. Hot steam can be extremely dangerous-  burning your arm, face, etc. When opening the hood be aware of this, knowing that steam can also jump out from under the hood as well.

If you suspect fire under the hood, DO NOT pop the hood. This will make the fire stronger, giving air to the fire, and making it larger. Immediately call 911 and report the fire, then move away from the vehicle as far as possible.


Stay Inside the Vehicle:

In high-traffic areas or inclement weather, it's safer to stay inside your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened. If you have reflective vests or clothing, consider wearing them to enhance your visibility to other drivers.


Make Your Vehicle Visible:

If it's safe, place reflective triangles or flares a good distance behind your vehicle. This will warn approaching drivers and provide a safer space for you to assess or wait for assistance.


Do Not Accept Rides from Strangers:

While it's natural for people to want to help, it's safer not to accept rides from strangers. Politely decline and wait for professional assistance. A tow vehicle or police/ emergency officers cannot do anything with your car if you are not there, except for taking it to a police impound yard. If you feel safe, and have gotten the car off to the side of the road stay with it. 911 operators will also stay on the phone with you until officers arrive.



Know Your Location:

Be aware of your surroundings and know your exact location. If you're unsure, use your smartphone's GPS or look for nearby landmarks to provide a clear location to the roadside assistance service. If on the parkways or on the Long Island Expressway you can tell the dispatcher the approximate location by the exit nearest you, or better yet, see the mile marker and let them know where you are.


Breaking down on the side of the road can be a stressful experience, but with a level head and the right actions, you can navigate through it safely. Riverhead Road Rescue is here to remind you that your safety is our priority. Follow these guidelines, stay calm, and trust in the assistance available to get you back on the road as smoothly as possible. Safe travels!

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