How To Survive a Vehicle Breakdown
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
When our car or truck breaks down, the first thing we naturally do is to pull to the side of the road to stay out of the way.
Not only is it common courtesy to get out of the way but its the safest option in a bad situation. So, you do your best to get over as far as possible. Some people think it is a good idea to pull all the way off the road onto the grass while you are waiting for roadside assistance. Yes, the further away you are from traveling lanes the better.
But most people don't think about how a hot engine can ignite grass under the vehicle. A tow truck will take at best 30 - 45 mins to arrive. Your hot engine can ignite grass within minutes. The catalytic converter underneath a vehicle is at least 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low hanging mufflers or chains can also reach temps that can ignite quickly. In no time your vehicle can be engulfed in flames. The best thing to do is to stay on the hard surface of the road. Even wet grass can catch fire in no time under a scalding hot engine. Hot vehicles can easily start a wildfire under almost any circumstances.
Keep your seat belt on while you are waiting on the tow truck to arrive. If you don't feel safe waiting in the car and want to stand in the grass you should watch out for ants and other insects. Down here in Florida we have a variety of ants that are called “fire ants” for a reason. You don't want to find out the hard way to avoid them.
Hopefully, you have your emergency bag prepared in your trunk. Make sure to keep insect spray in it for such roadside emergencies. If you don't like chemicals, Avon’s Skin So Soft works excellent if you can stand the smell. Chiggers, ticks, and mosquito bites are nothing to joke about.
Also, watch out for stickers and Poison Ivy & Poison Oak. Stuff like that grows rampantly along expressways so don't let the kids play in the tree line. A flat tire can be a huge inconvenience when traveling but a reaction to insect bits or aggressive foliage will totally ruin anyone's entire trip.
Waiting for roadside assistance really sucks. You pay them for years, never using the service. Then when you really need it, they take hours and hours to arrive putting you in danger. Here is a life pro tip that will save you lots of wait time.
Call your AAA, insurance, or any motor club to get it set up. What they don't want you to know is that if there is a long wait, like over an hour, you can call any local tow company directly for faster service.
"Absolutely exceptional. I was on the side of the highway with a dead battery, literally one mile away from the Auto parts store to get a new one. I call AAA. They're estimated arrival time was 10:15PM! The Auto parts store closes at 9, and it's almost 8! I looked up Hessco. They were with me in 30 minutes and I got to the store at 8:45. The battery was replaced, and I was able to drive home. They had a great crew making sure everything was safe on the roadside. Mike, who came out to greet me, was very professional. Even better, Hessco said I could show AAA the receipt and I would be reimbursed for the service because the AAA wait time was too long. Apparently this happens a lot to people. (Edit: Since this review was written, I did in fact get that reimbursement.) STRONGLY recommend you use this service if you're in a similar bind. Obviously, it's not free but was well worth it. Special thanks to Robin who helped me over the phone, advising me to call the auto parts store in advance, saying to have the new battery ready because I might be getting there close to 9. Very smart!!"
If you pay upfront out of pocket you become a priority and don't have to wait in line. If you go through your insurance or other roadside assistance membership you usually will be waiting for a minimum of 2 hours and an average of 4 hours for service. We have heard horror stories of people being left on the side of the road for 7 hours. That is just dangerous on many levels. No deserves to pay that much in exchange for a roadside assistance plan. Those other roadside assistance plans are cheap or included free for a reason. It is only to reduce costs for them, not you. Trust me, they are not going to give you something for nothing. You will pay for it in your time and maybe even in poor service that could result in additional damages because, well those people don't get paid enough to care.
Insurance companies don't like you to know this because when you submit that receipt for reimbursement to get paid back, it's at a much higher rate than they negotiated with providers. Did you know that AAA only pays $24 for a tow? Do you really want to trust someone who only makes $24 to touch your second most expensive investment? That pitiful $24 has to pay for fuel, insurance, labor, truck maintenance, everything. The sheer mass volume and low-end indifferent labor making $10-$12 an hour is the reason that AAA has the most damage claims.
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Author: Robyn Hart
Social Media Director