Mechanical problems can be unfortunately common in cold weather, as different areas of your vehicle may be affected. It is important to know what to do if you break down far from home when it’s freezing outside.
Stay warm as best you can, but make sure to do it in a safe way. Turing on your ignition every so often can help you stay warm when it’s cold outside. Clear snow away from your exhaust pipe and crack the windows to keep the vehicle well insulated when it is running. Unfortunately, running your engine isn’t always possible if your car won’t start. Make sure to keep a blanket and some winter clothes packed away in case you need them.
If you have enough gas, consider revving your engine every so often to keep warm.
Call For Help
Obviously, you will want to contact someone as soon as possible. If you have a cellphone with you, call someone nearby or emergency services immediately. You should consider having an extra phone charger that does not require a cord. If you have a phone charger with a cord, try to keep your vehicle running long enough to charge your phone and call for help.
Keep an Emergency Kit
You should always have an emergency kit in your vehicle, no matter what time of year it is. An emergency kit can help you in case you break down and need help or are injured.
As you normally would, have a spare tire and tools to help you repair a flat tire. In your emergency kit, you should have:
- A blanket
- Extra clothes
- A lighter
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Pocket warmers or hand warmers
- A first aid kit
- Ice scraper
- Tire traction mats
Clear The Windows
Keep your windows as clear of snow as you can, so that you can see cars passing by. This is especially important as you wait on help or if you are on the side of a busy road or highway. It can help other people see that there is someone inside the vehicle.
Don’t Try Shoveling Yourself Out
Clear snow away from your windows and exhaust pipe and remain inside the vehicle if possible. Refrain from trying to dig your way out, as this can have the opposite effect of burying your vehicle deeper in the snow.
Stay Inside If Possible
If you can, remain in the vehicle both to keep warm and keep safe. Only walk if you can clearly see a safe, indoor location, such as a store where you may be able to warm up and receive help. Wandering around looking for help can get you lost and put you in danger.
If your vehicle is no longer safe—such as if there is smoke billowing from your engine—exit the vehicle and call emergency services immediately.
Check Your Car Insurance Policy
Before an accident ever occurs, make sure to double check your car insurance policy. Not all policies are the same and it is important to ensure that you have the right amount of insurance to cover damages in case of a breakdown or other issue caused by the cold.
Many full coverage auto insurance policies also include roadside assistance, which can help you in the event you break down on the side of the road. It can often include towing and temporary transportation, so that you don’t have to remain in the cold after your vehicle breaks down.
Specifically, review your comprehensive and collision coverages, as these deal primarily with physical damage to your car that could occur while it is parked in the cold.
Ask your Lupton & Luce Insurance agent about what is and isn’t covered under your comprehensive coverage in the event you have to file a claim after an accident or breaking down in the cold.
It is most important, however, to be prepared and stay safe.
Also Read: Avoid Drinking and Driving
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