What would be more frightening than a breakdown on the highway? The Riskiest and potentially dangerous experience one could ever have. When your car starts to misbehave while you are crossing a highway or an expressway, it leaves you stranded by the roadside.

There are certain preventive measures that are recommended to follow to every car owner before leaving for such a journey. But if one doesn’t keep an account of these measures, how to handle the situation?

Car Breaks Down on the Highway – 8 Things You Must Know

What to do if your car breaks down on the highway in Kenya? If you are on the highway when the breakdown happens, take these steps to handle the situation:

  • Move the car to the side of the road: 

While driving if you have acknowledged that something wrong has gone with your car, never stop the car in just the middle of the highway. Any other vehicle may be coming with higher speed from behind that may hit you and get you into a dangerous trouble. Move slowly towards the roadside and park in a safe place. Try to park it as close to the verge as away from the road traffic so that you don’t become the victim of another incident.

In case your car’s engine has stopped, be prepared that the steering and the brakes might appear hard to operate. Therefore, you will need to keep the momentum up until you reach the roadside safely.

Instead of stopping your car, roll out the driver side window and hang out a white cloth and then again securely roll the window in. This will give an indication to the driver behind you that your vehicle is in trouble so they should proceed around you.

  • Make sure you are visible to the people passing by 

If you have purchased a reflective safety vest then it is good to carry them. So the next step is to wear that a fluorescent high-visibility vest or jacket so that you are easily caught by someone’s eye. This kinda jacket can be used during days and even nights.

It is good to keep a fully charged mobile phone with you to take assistance during an emergency.  Having a fully charged mobile phone means you can call for help and let someone know where you are.

  • Your car is noticed by drivers crossing you 

Turn on the hazard lights so that the drivers coming up will be alerted to the presence of your car. During the night, don’t think twice about switching your sidelights (also known as parking lights) on too. Make sure to put your emergency blinkers on so that the ongoing traffic gets an alert that your vehicle is not moving otherwise you will not find yourself stuck on the highway with no possibility of help.

But try to avoid this trick during the night because it may indicate that your vehicle is rolling so may become a victim of hitting.

During nighttime, quickly place warning lights and reflective markers about six feet behind the vehicle and then get back to the safe place.

  • Evacuate the Car: 

It is obvious that you may have passengers with you in the car. Not always, we travel alone. Hence, if you are going with family, it is must to evacuate the vehicle. To avoid being hit by any vehicle, make sure to use the left door to vacate the car.

Having a pet with you? Never let them come out otherwise it will become difficult for you to keep them under control on the highway.

  • Note your vehicle’s location: 

It is important to note down landmarks near the car parking. Make sure you remember your last exit i.e. any restaurant, shopping center, business complex or any service station you checked on the way. This will be helpful in finding your current location for roadside assistance.

  • Call for Help 

Never try to repair your vehicle yourself. Even if you are aware of the problems with your car, it is not a good decision to start repairs on the roadside of the highway especially if it’s on the hard shoulder. This may put you in danger that has catastrophic results.

The best alternative will be calling your car insurance agent for roadside assistance. It becomes your responsibility to fully understand what services your roadside assistance or car insurance kenya policy will cover. You can also call any of your family members, friends or relatives nearby for help. Instead of putting your life in danger, you should take help by calling.

Never wander while talking on the phone along the hard shoulder. Don’t sit in the car even if it is raining or extreme temp(cold o hot) outside. By doing so, you are tempting to inviting a sudden car crash or other accident due to any vehicle problem. Wait outside until the help arrives.

  • Be safe and await: 

Stay safe along with your co-passengers while waiting for help. When the fault with the car will be repaired by the breakdown service you’ve called out, get the car up to the speed first. Now, choose a safe gap between the vehicles on the highway. Give an indication and finally pull out into the flow of traffic.

  • Know your rights: 

If you CHOOSE TO EXIT your vehicle:

If relying on the help of a friendly motorist, it is your right to ask for identification before accepting assistance. Note down his/her information and then take any step. If you are planning to leave it with another person, you can also borrow the vehicle from other person explaining where you are going and when you expect to return.

In case you CHOOSE TO STAY in your vehicle:

    • Keep the car windows and doors locked.
    • Never leave the engine running for extended periods as this could put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • If you are threatened by a stranger while waiting in your car, call the emergency helpline. Honk the horn repeatedly and flash the lights to attract the attention of other motorists.