Five common roadside emergencies and how to deal with them

Having a car can be a great thing but it can also come with pitfalls. You need to be prepared for roadside emergencies to happen – anywhere and anytime.

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Having a car can be a great thing but it can also come with pitfalls. You need to be prepared for roadside emergencies to happen – anywhere and anytime.

Whether your car is old or new, a breakdown can happen to your car at any time so it’s crucial to know what to do, and not everyone does.

Kitting yourself out with an emergency kit is crucial for any car owner as you’re not always going to have a mechanic around to help you out.  With the right gear, you’ll be ready for anything.  Included in the emergency kit are a spare tyre, jump leads, a socket wrench, engine oil and a first aid kit – mostly things that won’t take up too much space in the boot of your car.

So, what are the five most common roadside emergencies and what can we do ourselves to fix the problems ourselves?

1. Changing a flat tyre

You’re not going to be able to go too far with a flat tyre, so having the right tools and knowledge is essential in an emergency.  Be sure to equip yourself with a bottle jack, spare tyre (obviously), a hi-viz vest, a socket wrench and a pair of gloves. Once you have engaged the handbrake and turned the hazard lights on, you can remove the wheel trim and use the bottle jack to raise the wheels off the ground. Then you can fit the spare tyre from your boot, taking care not to over-tighten the wheel nuts. Call for roadside assistance if you have a flat tyre on the motorway.

2. Bogged vehicle

All you’ll need for this is a foot and a bit of patience! In first gear, gently press on the accelerator allowing the spinning wheels to rock forward. Take your foot off the accelerator and let the vehicle roll backwards, immediately put your foot on the accelerator to move forwards again. Repeat until you are able to get the vehicle up and moving again. If this doesn’t work, you’ll probably need towing.

3. Overheating engine

If you have an overheated engine, it’s important to turn it off immediately. Cool the engine down by popping the car bonnet open before doing anything else. Check the engine oil levels and the coolant levels – there might be a leak. If there is a leak, you’ll need to pay your mechanic a visit.

4. Dead battery

Using jump leads and a second vehicle you can try to charge the battery using the cables and a bit of time. If this doesn’t work, the spare phone in your emergency kit will help you to ring for assistance.

5. Car accident

Probably the most important one! If there’s an accident, don’t move any injured passengers. Find out your location and take note of any street signs/landmarks/other details that can help identify to the police where you are. It’s also important to get details for any witnesses so that they can be spoken to later if need be. Later, you will need to get in touch with your insurance company to report the accident.

Dealing with any of these emergencies

By following these instructions, you will be able to have much more of an idea of what to do if any of these emergencies were to happen to you.  Have a look at the infographic below for more detailed information.

Five common roadside emergencies (one)
Five common roadside emergencies (2)
5 common roadside emergencies (3)


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Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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