So, you’re all set – bags packed, kids in the car, songs playing on the radio – April holiday here we come!
And then, the one thing everyone hopes doesn’t happen as they head off on their long-awaited journey… the dreaded breakdown! Be it a flat tyre, flat/faulty battery, you’ve locked your keys in the car after stopping for a bite to eat, or you have misjudged the distance to the next petrol station and have run out of fuel – nobody enjoys being stranded on the side of the road. It can be extremely stressful waiting for an emergency vehicle to either pass by you, or for your preferred supplier to come to your rescue.
It’s important to remember that these things happen and the best you can do is to think clearly. Ask yourself, what should I do next to ensure the safety of my travel companions and myself?
Grant Fraser, Commercial Director at Matrix, a brand by MiX Telematics have provided a few tips to guide you through any unfortunate breakdowns that you may experience this holiday season.
Call for assistance
Certain tracking companies provide you with free roadside assistance. This is the best position you can be in – as you are guaranteed of quick, reliable service – putting your personal safety first. As such, if you have a service in place, call your provider and let their control room know that you are stuck and need assistance. Through innovative tracking technology, such companies are able to identify your exact location – speeding up their response time and, of course, your waiting time!
If you don’t have a service in place, call the local emergency contact numbers. You can click here for emergency numbers related to each toll route accordingly. Alternatively, you can call your insurance company who are bound to help or search for the closest towing service (look for one in the town closest to where you are stuck to speed things up) and give them a call.
Be aware and stay safe
Breaking down in the middle of nowhere makes you vulnerable to potential criminals en-route or that are potentially hiding in the bushes.
If you have a tracking device, make sure that someone stays near the vehicle, in the event that the panic button needs to be pressed. Additionally, for those with a personal safety app – linked to your tracking device for example – you can ensure that you keep your app open on your phone, to notify your provider in the event of an emergency.
Make someone responsible for the kids
Many times, you are so focused on the logistics of breaking down, and the kids are all over-excited about the event, that it is easy to lose sight of where your kids are. Keep a close eye on them, or make someone responsible for them while you sort out the logistics – to ensure that they don’t get too close to oncoming traffic, as not all road users are cautious and long distance motorways can be treacherous.
Arrange accommodation and repairs
If you have a roadside assistance service in place, certain of them offer you free accommodation for the night, as well as assist with repair arrangements. If not, get on the phone while you wait for assistance, Google the nearest reputable mechanics and make arrangements for accommodation. Worried about repair costs? In addition to accommodation, some service providers offer services such as pothole assist – recovering some or all of the repair or replacement costs from the relevant Road Authorities. This means that, once you are towed, you have everything in place- removing the stress.
Inform your loved ones
If you are meeting up with family and friends, let them know that you have broken down and give them an expected time of arrival. This way, not only can they be assured that you are okay, but so too can they check in every now and then, as well as know what time you are expected – another key safety precaution.
While breaking down is not fun, it can be easily managed. Get on board with a reliable tracking service who can not only help you if you break down, but will be right by your side in the event of any personal safety issues such as stolen or hijacked vehicles and roadside emergencies. At the very least however, ensure you have a roadside assistance plan in place. By taking these easy precautions, you are assured of peace of mind that all will be taken care of, quickly and effectively.