Though car rentals are generally well maintained, still a car is after all a machine and is thus, very much liable to breaking down. And needless to say, it is not at all pleasant to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. So, it is better to play safe and keep in mind certain precautionary steps, which are as follows:
Do not panic
Yes, car breakdown can be a stressful situation, but panicking can only make things worse. Instead try to keep your calm and the car under control. Once your car comes to a stop, try to find out what has gone wrong, if you do not have any technical expertise simply try to think clearly about what needs to be done next. If you are driving alone you know that what ever that can be done has to be done by you; hence, panicking will only delay things rather than helping.
Pull Over to the Shoulder
Whenever you feel that the car is breaking down, try to reach the right shoulder of the road, especially if it is a highway. You need to get off the road as soon as possible, so that you are not hit by the vehicles behind you and let them pass by without any hassle. Once you reach the shoulders you can relax a bit, thinking that you are at least not stranded in the middle of the active lane.
Breaking down on a roadway rather than on a highway has its own challenges, decreased visibility and smaller shoulders being the major ones. If you need to walk for getting help, you are advised to stay on the left side of the road facing the traffic. This way you can at least get away from the way in case you find an oncoming automobile getting close to you.
Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers
Make sure that you know where the button of hazard lights is in your rented car. Doing this is important as it serves as a warning sign for other drivers, symbolizing that something is wrong with your vehicle, so that they keep safe distance from it.
Try to plan how to get out of the situation
Once you have managed to take your vehicle safely out the traffic’s reach and turned its hazard lights on, it is time you evaluate the situation and plan an action. If there’s no smoke or fire, you can stay within the car. If you can find out what has gone wrong, like a flat tire, and you can repair it, go right ahead. However, if the situation is out of your control, you need to call for help.
Keep a mobile phone
Today everybody owns a mobile phone and it is an absolute necessity when travelling. Before you leave the rental parking lot, make sure you have the phone number of the toll truck company and rental agency, so that you can inform them if you get into trouble. Though most states have roadside assistance services, get in touch with emergency services in case the state you are travelling in does not have any. They will make sure you are safe until a tow truck is called upon.