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Automobile Breakdowns Put Drivers and Passengers at Risk


Most of us have had the experience of having our car breakdown on a road or highway. You are traveling alone and hear a strange noise, experience a decrease in acceleration, or your vehicle suddenly stalls or stops for no apparent reason. Depending on where and when you are traveling, this can be a very dangerous situation, increasing your risks for car accidents and injuries. The following offers safety tips on what to do when a roadside emergency happens, and common reasons why breakdowns occur.

Protecting Yourself During a Roadside Emergency

In a perfect world, you would get an indication of a potential automotive problem and could have it addressed by your mechanic long before a breakdown ever occurred. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Either something suddenly goes wrong, or you may be unaware of certain signs indicating serious vehicle issues.

When problems arise while traveling busy roads and highways, how you respond could mean the difference between life and death for both you and your passengers. Depending on the situation, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following tips:

  • If there are warning signs, such as smoke coming from under the hood, pull over to your right, as far off the road as possible.
  • If there is a sudden deceleration or your car stalls, put on your emergency flashers, and do not risk injuries by attempting to push it off the road.
  • Make a note of your location, and notify law enforcement and call a tow truck or roadside assistance company.
  • If you feel you are in danger of being hit by another vehicle, get out of the car and stand as far off the road as possible.

In most situations, wait for professional help to arrive rather than relying on a stranger to help. Keep flares in your trunk, along with a flashlight to help you alert other drivers and your roadside service as to your location.

Common Reasons Automotive Breakdowns Occur

Preventative maintenance, such as checking oil levels and tire condition, can help to avoid breakdowns, as can having your car regularly serviced by a knowledgeable mechanic. Auto Repair Advisors claim that most breakdowns occur as the result of the following:

  • Engine overheating;
  • Problems with water pump;
  • Broken or loose belts;
  • Flat tires and blowouts;
  • Broken tie rods or ball joints;
  • Brake failures;
  • Battery problems;
  • Malfunction with starter.

Unless you have experience with car repairs or the cause of your breakdown is obvious, such as overheating or a flat tire, do not attempt to fix the problem yourself while pulled over to the side of the road.

In the event an accident does occur either in traffic or while you are pulled over, report it to police, get the other driver’s information, and contact the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. The insurance company may try to say that your breakdown was the cause of the accident so they can deny your claim. Before making any statements or signing any documents, call or contact our office and request a free consultation to discuss the matter with Gregg Wexler, experienced West Palm Beach car accident attorney first.


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