Handling a Vehicle Breakdown or Accident

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Car accident

Most people suffer from shock after a car accident and from severe frustration after a breakdown, which does not make it the best time to make the right decisions and act on them. There are some general rules you can follow without much thinking.

  • If you have a warning that the car is breaking down, steer it off the road or onto the shoulder. If it breaks down on a relatively quiet road, get help to push it while you steer it off the road. A broken car in the middle of the road is a hazard for other drivers.

  • If your vehicle is stuck on the shoulder, exit on the passenger side and get off the road.

  • If you are stopped on the edge of a road, turn the wheels away from the road so a car that bumps you cannot push you into the traffic.

  • The universally understood sign of a breakdown is an open hood, so if you want others to call for help or to assist you, it may help.

  • Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers can see you and understand you have a problem. It will also help emergency vehicles to find you.

  • If you have been in an accident and someone is injured, call 911. Do not move seriously injured passengers. If a passenger is bleeding heavily, try to slow the bleeding with a towel or clothes. If you have an emergency kit, apply bandages.

  • If you have been in an accident and there is serious damage, call the police. Your auto insurer will need a police report.

  • Use your cell phone to take pictures only if you can leave the vehicle and walk around it safely. 

  • It is not usually a good idea to request help from other drivers, but if you are without a cell phone and seemingly far from a pay phone, ask another motorist with a cell phone to call for help.

  • Do not accept unofficial towing services. If you need to be towed urgently, ask for documentation that the service is a member of the Canadian Automobile Association or of some other known organisation.


First and foremost, keep yourself and others safe.