Roadside Survival Guide for Teens (Tips and Emergency Kit!)

You'll get stuck on the side of the road at some point, there's no getting around it. The key is knowing what to do when you're in that situation. Freak out and despair? Fix your car by yourself? This roadside survival guide for teens will help you be prepared. 

Stuck on the Road? Here's What to Do

The main reason drivers need roadside assistance is because of tire problems. But no matter what made you stop before you reached your destination, here is what you should do.

1. Stay Calm

First things first, keep your cool. Accidents happen, but they can always be resolved. Take a deep breath in and focus on remembering the next steps we'll get into.

2. Pull Up to a Safe Spot

When you can, stop your car at a safe spot. If you're driving on the highway, park on the right shoulder of the road. If there is no shoulder, stop as far away from traffic as safely possible. The goal is to not be near other cars to prevent accidents.

3. Make Your Vehicle Visible

Next, make sure other drivers can easily spot your car. This will make them slow down and be extra careful while passing you. Do it by popping the hood, turning on the hazard lights, or placing a warning triangle 10 feet behind your car. You can also wear a reflective vest, especially if you plan on exiting the vehicle.

But remember, if you are stepping out of your car, always do it through the passenger door. It doesn't face traffic, so you reduce the risk of being run over by a distracted driver.

4. Stay in Your Vehicle

If you can, stay in your vehicle. You'll be sheltered from the elements (who wants to freeze while waiting for roadside assistance?), predators, and other drivers. Also, remember to buckle up, even if you're just sitting inside the car. If a driver runs into your vehicle, you'll be protected.

There are a few situations when you shouldn't stay inside your car. For example, if your car broke down on railroad tracks, leave your car immediately and run.

5. Fix the Problem (If You Know How To)

Sometimes, you may know exactly what is wrong with your car. Be it because you've learned a bit of mechanics before or because you've read your vehicle's user manual, trying to fix the problem is worth a shot.

Of course, you should only attempt to fix things yourself if you can do so safely, meaning you've parked far enough from traffic and have your reflective vest on, you can get to work.

6. Call Professional Help

It's okay if you can't figure out what's wrong with your vehicle on your own. That's what professional help is for!

Call a local mechanic or towing company (if you know one), roadside assistance, or your insurance company. If you're hurt, give the local police station or 911 a call. Explain where you are, as precisely as you can. In no time, someone will come to help you.

10 Emergency Kit Must-Haves

These items come in handy when your car breaks down on the side of the road:

  1. Spare tire

  2. Tools to change a tire

  3. Jumper cables and battery

  4. Your car owner's manual

  5. Reflecting jacket and warning triangle

  6. First-aid kit (with band-aids, instant cold pack, gauze, and snacks)

  7. Warm blanket for the winter

  8. Flashlight and spare batteries

  9. Car phone charger

  10. Emergency contacts (e.g. your insurance or roadside assistance number)

Stay Safe on the Road!

Accidents are bound to happen, but you can prevent them if you take a defensive driving course. You'll learn how to deal with aggressive drivers, what to do when driving in extreme weather conditions, and more.

Krista Doyle