You are on your way, enjoying the ride when your vehicle fails you. Whether it is a flat tire, steam rolling out of your engine, or it just dies. You need help; now what do you do when you break down?
Call Lake Gaston Auto & RV for a tow!
Well, yes. (252-629-2353) However, what do you do when you break down and are not near us?
- Don’t panic. Take an assessment of the situation. Can you get off the road safely? Is your vehicle safe to drive that far. If yes, then get off the side of the road. If no or you do not know – call for help.
- If you have an emergency kit then put out your emergency cones, flares, etc. out to let on coming traffic know there is a stranded motorist. Be careful while you do so, watching traffic, even waiting for a break in traffic so you can be safe.
- If you do not know exactly where you are at, look around for signs and any distinguishing sites around you. We all tend not to check each and every mile marker as we travel, so telling the person who answers the phone what is around you will help the driver locate you.
- If you have a roadside assistance program (AAA, Good Sam’s, many insurance companies) then give them a call. If not, Google and other search engines can help you find “tow companies near me,” “wrecker companies near me,” or near what ever city you are near.
- Call the companies. Tell them the: Year, Make, Model, and Color of Vehicle, (such as blue 2018 Jeep Wrangler) and what your problem is. They may have a few questions, so answer to the best of your ability.
- Find if they have the capability to tow you/can perform roadside service, price, and availability of the service. If you are shopping for price, then let them know you will call them back.
- Do NOT call out multiple companies to come help you. If they all show up, they will want money for their time. That is time, fuel, and other people who need services that you have caused them to loose, so they will want compensation. Pick one who has the trucks that can tow you (size and ability does matter, a small truck can not tow a motorhome), price in your range, and best on scene time.
- Discuss how much and what kind of payment you will have to make. Many companies want cash for roadside service. Others may have options for credit cards, but you both need to know how you will pay for your service ahead of time.
- When you have a large group with you, let the tow company know. Typically only 2 or 3 people can fit in the cab of a tow truck, so alternate transportation will be needed for the rest. Some may offer shuttle services, but you may have to call a cab or similar transport.
You made the phone call – now what?
- You may have awhile to wait, so if you are on the side of the road – stay in the car or get back off the roadside. Do NOT hangout around outside the vehicle – it is a dangerous place to be. Many people get hurt or killed by passing driver’s looking to see what is going on.
- As the wrecker driver gets there, stay back off the road while you talk to the driver. When the driver starts to load up your vehicle, stay out of the way. This is a very dangerous time for the driver. They are trying to load your vehicle while keeping an eye on traffic. (See below picture for how one of our tows went wrong when another driver did not move over.)
- Please note – you may have to leave your pets in the vehicle. Your sweet dog may be nice every other time of their life, but they are now scared from the noises, smells, and the vehicles moving past. Put them in a vehicle with someone they do not know can be dangerous for the driver because they want to protect you. Even your small lap dog can cause the driver to wreck if it attacks while in motion.
- When you have a flat tire or other non towing need, stay back as the driver works. You may help by keeping an eye on traffic and give a heads up if a vehicle starts coming your way. Answer any questions the driver has as quickly as possible to help you both get off the side of the road safely.
You broke down on the side of the road, the tow truck driver picked you up, and now what happens?
If you are going back to the shop, remember that the tow truck driver is not necessarily your technician. With some smaller shops that might be the case; however, the driver does not have the ability to answer all your questions about repairs until the vehicle gets to the shop and is evaluated. The shop’s service writer will answer questions about what is wrong, how long it could take to repair, and cost of repair after a technician has evaluated your vehicle.