Nobody likes it when their car breaks down, but it's even worse when it happens in the middle of the night. Visibility is low, and you may have to contend with oncoming sleep-deprived drivers. It can easily be a dangerous situation. To help you prepare for this situation, read on to learn what you should do when your car breaks down on the highway in the middle of the night.
Maneuver Away From Traffic
When your car breaks down, you normally have a few seconds of forwarding momentum left. Use this time to drive your car to the right shoulder, and move as far into it as possible. If you're on a highway with a grass median and you don't think you can make it to the right shoulder, you can pull slightly into the grass median instead.
Be careful not to accidentally drive down into the median — that makes towing quite a bit more complicated. Whether you're in the right shoulder or on the shoulder of the median, you want your car to remain on even ground.
If you can't make it to either the median or the right shoulder, at least try to keep your car pointed straight ahead on the road. You want oncoming drivers to be able to see your hazard lights.
Turn Your Hazard Lights On
As soon as your car has stopped, turn your hazard lights on. At night, your biggest concern is visibility. Hazard lights are your best bet of informing other drivers that something ahead of them on the road is unusual.
Normally, you wouldn't have to call the police if your car breaks down. Breaking down on the highway at night, however, is a dangerous situation. Call 911, tell them that you've broken down on the highway and inform them of your location. A mile marker is the best indicator of your location, but you can also tell them the direction you're traveling and the last exit you passed.
Depending on where you live, the police may send an officer out to stay with you until a 24-hour roadside towing service arrives. Even if they don't, it's a good idea to call the police so that they know your location.
Unless you think that there's a very good chance an oncoming driver will hit your car from behind, it's safest to stay in your car with the doors locked. If anyone pulls over and wants to help, decline and tell them to call the police instead. You're in a vulnerable situation, and you don't want to make yourself a target for theft.
Call a 24-Hour Roadside Towing Service
At this point, you should call a 24-hour roadside towing service to tow your car to the nearest mechanic. You shouldn't attempt to get out and fix the problem yourself in the middle of the night since oncoming drivers can't see you. For the same reason, you also should not attempt to walk into town on your own.
Simply sit in your car and wait for the 24-hour roadside towing service to arrive. Even if you're planning on calling a friend or family member to pick you up, it's much safer to do that at the mechanic's shop rather than on the side of the road.
To know more about 24-hour towing, contact a towing company near you.