28229365_MYou are experiencing a roadside emergency. Maybe there’s a problem with your tire or your engine. Or maybe you didn’t notice how low on fuel your gas tank was. It happens. Being prepared for a roadside emergency is essential for your safety and the safety of others.

Here are some tips to help you be better prepared:

Create an emergency kit. Before you ever hit the road, pack a well-stocked emergency kit and keep it in your vehicle. Include items such as a flashlight, spare batteries, jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, a basic tool kit, a first aid kit, reflective triangles or flares, a fire extinguisher, a tire jack, and a spare tire. In addition to those things you need to help fix the situation, remember to carry essential supplies too. These can include drinking water, non-perishable snacks, a blanket or extra clothing, a fully charged mobile phone and charger, and a paper map in case your GPS fails.

Maintain your vehicle. Regularly service and maintain your vehicle to minimize the risk of breakdowns. Check your tire pressure, fluid levels, and brakes regularly. Ensure your spare tire is in good condition and properly inflated.

Know how to change a tire. Familiarize yourself with the process of changing a tire. Practice it at home before you actually need to do it on the side of the road. As noted above, carry the necessary tools and equipment to change a tire, including a jack and lug wrench.

Stay safe. If you experience a breakdown, prioritize your safety. Pull over to a safe location, turn on your hazard lights, and use reflective triangles or flares to warn other drivers. Stay inside your vehicle and lock the doors, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar or unsafe area. Pay attention to your surroundings and be cautious when accepting help from strangers. Remember, if you feel unsafe or uncertain about the situation, it’s always best to wait for professional assistance to arrive. If another motorist has pulled over to offer assistance, don’t feel obligated to roll down your window or get out of your car.

Call for assistance. If you’re unable to resolve the issue on your own, call for roadside assistance or emergency services. Save the contact information for a reliable towing service or roadside assistance provider in your phone. Even if you don’t have cell service, you can make an emergency call (make sure it is truly an emergency). When you call for help, provide clear and accurate information about your location. Use landmarks, highway signs, or mile markers to describe where you are.

Finally, stay calm and patient. Roadside emergencies can be stressful, but it’s important to remain calm and patient. Panicking can lead to poor decision-making. Take deep breaths and focus on the steps you need to take to resolve the situation.