truck breaks down
DIY Auto Repair

What to Do When Your Truck Breaks Down on the Highway

You rely on your truck to get you from Point A to Point B, over and over again. And you understand that no matter how meticulous you are about maintenance, even the most reliable of vehicles is going to break down every once in a while.

Of course, that’s not a big deal if it happens in your driveway or just a few blocks down the road. When your truck breaks down on the highway, however, it can be a frightening and stressful experience.

Read on to find out how to keep your cool and keep yourself safe in the event you suffer a breakdown in heavy traffic.

Most Importantly, Get to Safety

If you have any warning that your truck is losing power or malfunctioning, do everything you can to get to the right-hand shoulder of the road.

Pull into the breakdown lane or off the highway if possible. This way, you will be out of other drivers’ way, and less likely to add insult to injury by being involved in an accident.

Can’t Pull Over When Your Truck Breaks Down?

There are times when your engine will die in the middle of traffic. It’s important to stay calm when this happens and to be smart during the next steps. First, stay in your vehicle! Trying to cross several lanes puts you and other drivers at risk.

While it’s understandable that you want to use Ford service manuals to diagnose the problem then and there, or even attempt repairs, play it safe and stay put.

No Matter Where Your Truck Ends Up

Put on your flashers right away to let other motorists know that you’re having trouble. This is especially important if the truck breaks down when visibility is low, such as at dusk, dawn, or in the wee hours.

It’s also crucial if the highway isn’t heavily trafficked. There might not be many cars on the road to impact yours, but if someone does come flying along, they’ll have a greater chance of avoiding you if they see your hazards.

Other steps that can increase your vehicle’s visibility include using flares, turning on the interior lights, and placing a white cloth or piece of paper where it can flutter outside your truck. A white flag is universally understood to be a signal that a motorist has broken down.

Call Your Auto Club, Highway Patrol, or 911

If you’re lucky, and/or prepared, you will be able to call for assistance using your cell phone. However, a dead battery can happen to the best of us. Or maybe you can’t get a signal on your cell in the area where you truck breaks down.

In those cases, look for an emergency call box. It’s okay to leave the vehicle, exercising caution, for as long as it takes to reach the box and contact the authorities.

Don’t Accept Help from Strangers

When you’re stranded and scared, it’s tempting to roll down your car window for anyone who stops to help you. But resist that temptation, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in. It simply isn’t safe or smart — you never can tell who’s a Good Samaritan, and who’s a serial killer.

Get Help, Then Get Home

It’s never fun to experience a breakdown, but on the highway such a situation can be downright nerveracking. Keeping a cool head when your truck breaks down can help you avoid further problems.

Then you can have the vehicle towed to a shop — or to your driveway, where you can use our handy car repair manuals to get ‘er up and running again!