Renting a Car – Dealing With Breakdowns

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,861
    AAA discusses their top tips for renting a car the smart way and how to deal with breakdowns.

    Bruce Ream: Hi! I am Bruce Ream, Managing Director of AAA Partnership Programs. Today, I'm going to discuss what to do if your rental car breaks down. Since your surroundings, traffic patterns, and vehicle hazards may vary, it's important to continually monitor and evaluate your own situation, but I will provide some guidelines to follow. If you encounter a problem, make note of your vehicle's location in relation to a major exit or cross-street, landmark or mile marker.

    Be aware of and know how to respond to warning signs such as steering problems or smoke coming from under the hood. If it's a flat tire, slow down and gradually and carefully pull onto the shoulder of the road. If you run out of gas or your engine stops, switch on the emergency safety flashers and carefully steer your vehicle out of traffic using its momentum. If you cannot pull off the road safely, do not risk personal injury by attempting to push it.

    If you think it maybe struck from behind, do not stay in your vehicle, but if you get out, proceed carefully, watching for oncoming traffic. Never stand behind or directly in front of your vehicle as other drivers may have difficulty seeing you. Make sure your car is visible. Turn on emergency flashers and raise the hood. If you have a brightly colored scarf, tie it to the antenna or door-handle. Use warning triangles or flares to direct oncoming traffic away from your vehicle.

    Once you and your passenger are in a safe location, contact your rental car or roadside assistance provider. Explain your situation; where your vehicle is located and if you are able to safely wait for help. There are apps available that can send your location to a roadside assistance provider. If you feel you are in an unsafe situation, make sure the dispatcher is aware of your concern. Communicate special transportation means such as a large number of passengers, infants, and medical needs.

    Safety experts agree that under most circumstances, if you're able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle until help arrives. So that is the basics of what to do if your car rental breaks down. Safe travels!