Thousand Oaks: What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down



Thousand Oaks: What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down

I’m Ed Smith, a Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer. Most people don’t think about their car breaking down while driving in the city or along the highway, but it happens at times. Following are some tips that may help you in this type of emergency.

Keep Calm

First of all, don’t panic. Hopefully, your car still has a little energy left in the engine, so you can pull over to the side, even if you have to coast. If it does come to a dead stop on the road or a city street, and you can’t restart the engine, turn on your flashers. According to Automobile Association of America, it is important to note the location of the car. Use the proximity to exit ramps or mile posts.

Pull Over to the Side of the Street or Road if Possible

If you do manage to get your vehicle to the shoulder of the road, turn on the flashers to warn oncoming traffic, put your car in park, employ the emergency brake and turn your wheels, so they face away from the roadway. Turning your wheels will keep your vehicle from rolling back onto the road and also protects other vehicles if yours gets hit by accident.

Warning Other Traffic

Remember that it’s a bad idea to use emergency flashers by themselves at night because other drivers might think your vehicle is still moving. After dark, use your flashers, but add emergency triangles or road flares. Place one near the vehicle about 10 feet behind it, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles recommends placing triangles or flares from 200 to 300 feet behind your vehicle. This gives other motorists plenty of warning and time to change lanes. It still might be a good idea to raise the hood on the vehicle, and leave a door open on the passenger side so the interior lights will stay on.

Calling for Help

Most people carry a cell phone along with them, which makes it easy to summon assistance. Call the auto club or a tow truck. If you don’t have a phone with you, you might be able to find a call box close by inside major cities. If you’re on the highway, just wait for assistance from the highway patrol. It is a good idea to keep the telephone number of a repair shop or auto assistance club in the glove box of your vehicle or on your cell phone.

When to Stay in Your Vehicle

Use extra caution getting out of your car. Since you are stationary, it can be difficult to judge the speed of a vehicle that will be passing you. If you have gotten your car off to the shoulder, exit from the passenger side for extra safety, and do not stay near the vehicle. Move back to a safe spot off the road to wait for help. If it is safer to stay in the car, remember to keep your seat belt on. When the engine is smoking or the car begins to burn, you have no choice. Get out.

Changing a Tire

If you have a flat tire on the driver’s side, even if parked on the highway’s shoulder, don’t try to change it. Just wait for the auto club or the California Highway Patrol. Changing a tire on the driver’s side of the vehicle while cars are whizzing by you at high speed on the interstate can turn deadly. It is safer to change a tire on the passenger side if you’re off the road.

Exercise Safety Precautions

Do not stand next to or behind a disabled vehicle to wait for help. Trying to flag down another vehicle for help is also not advised. This could unintentionally cause an accident with that vehicle or be asking the wrong stranger for assistance.

Staying In or Getting Out of the Vehicle

If the vehicle cannot be removed from the road, it’s a good idea to get out, watching carefully for traffic, and wait by the side of the road for help. In a safe area, stay inside the vehicle. Never walk on the highway itself. If bad weather makes it necessary to walk for assistance, walk along the right side, and never try to cross a busy highway on foot.


Attorney Ed Smith

Thousand Oaks Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer. Contact me for free and friendly advice at (805) 372-0200. My free phone number is (800) 404-1900.

I have worked as a traumatic injury attorney in California for over 35 years in the areas of car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death and other injuries.

On Avvo, Google, and Yelp, you can look at our many positive reviews by former clients as well as others by my colleagues.

I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group comprised of attorneys who have $1 million and multimillion settlements and verdicts.

A high record of settlements and verdicts that help clients obtain appropriate damages is important. See mine at Past Verdicts and Settlements.

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Client Reviews

  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation.
  • Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything.
  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime.
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone.
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury.