Couple repairing car flat tyre on the road, wondering who to call when the car breaks down

Who Do You Call When Your Car Breaks Down?


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Your car pulling up stumps while you’re on a road trip can be a stressful and frustrating experience, especially if your car breaks down on the highway. You may feel panicked and unable to think about what to do next. Knowing who to call when car your car breaks down makes all the difference in getting you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible.

Being a member of a roadside assistance program may not be on your radar (until now). So what do you do otherwise?

Below we explore the different options there are when your car breaks down and provide some guidance on who to call. From roadside assistance providers to emergency services, we’ll cover everything you need to know to be prepared for any breakdown emergency. Don’t panic! We’ve got you.

Bearded man talking on the phone next to his broken down car on the road. It's important to know who to call when your car breaks down,

Who should I call when my car breaks down?

It’s normal to feel stressed or even panicked when your car breaks down. It’s definitely not on the list of fun things to happen in your day. With a cool head, though, you’ll be able to get assistance quickly and get safely to your destination or home. Whether that’s via your car or otherwise.

Roadside assistance

The first contact you should call is the roadside assistance provider that you’re subscribed to. This might be a private service, or a service provided to your by your car insurance provider. PD AU’s comprehensive car insurance, for instance, pays the reasonable cost of towing your vehicle to the nearest repairer or place of safety if it’s damaged and cannot be safely driven. We also offer a fuller roadside assistance service – see here.

It’s a good idea to inform yourself early on what your insurance offers you in this respect. The last thing you want to do is try to find your insurance policy documents while you’re standing on the side of the road! Give this article a read: Does My Car Insurance Cover Towing?

Also know that you can join up on the spot and reap the benefits of roadside assistance when you really need it. Is now the time to become a member?

does car insurance cover towing? This couple's plan does, so they know what to do after a car accident

Even if you’re not a member, you can call the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) for a referral to a towing service or a roadside assistance provider. The number is +61 2 6247 7311.

A towing company or mechanic

Further on that, you can obviously call your local towing company directly when car your breaks down. They can tow your vehicle to a nearby mechanic or repair shop.

You could also bypass the towing company and call a local mechanic or repair shop to come to your location and assess the situation. They may be able to fix the problem on the spot, or tow/organise a vehicle tow to their shop for repairs. Choice has a great article providing tips for what to do if you need car towing – see here.

A friend or family member

If you don’t choose either option, perhaps call a family member or friend with a good amount of car knowledge. They may have just enough to help you repair your vehicle or tow it for you.

Even if you already have assistance on the way, it’s clever to let your loved ones know your car has broken down and ensure them of your location and safety.

The police

Alternatively or together with the above, you can also call the local police on their emergency number (000) if your car breaks down in a hazardous location or if you need urgent assistance.

Mother and daughter with broken down car. It's important to know who to call when your car breaks down,

What to do if your car breaks down on a highway 

If your car breaks down on the highway, the first thing to do is to try to move it to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to your situation.

Once you’re in a safe location, as above, call your roadside assistance provider, the AAA, or a family member/friend.

It’s also a good idea to call the local police on 000 to advise your situation and location. This is especially important if you’re in a hazardous location or need immediate help. They can help direct traffic around your car and give you extra assistance if needed.

Move yourself and any passengers well out of the way of traffic while you’re waiting. Get as far off the side of the road as possible.

Safety when your car breaks down

Once you’ve made your call when your car breaks down, it’s important to keep yourself and anyone else safe while waiting for help. Here are important safety tips you should know:

  • Don’t walk around outside the car or on the road. If the street has slow or little traffic, can you wait far away from the road, e.g. someone’s front yard?
  • On a freeway, highway or busy road, it’s generally safer to stay inside your vehicle with your seatbelt on. Yes, you should do this for however long it takes for help to arrive.
  • If you need to exit your vehicle, do so on the curb side and stay a safe distance from the road.
  • If you have reflective clothing in your car’s emergency kit, put it on if you leave the car. This will increase your visibility to other drivers. On that note, it’s crucial to always be prepared with first aid supplies in your car. Read about what you should have in your car survival kit.
  • Don’t accept rides from strangers! While it’s natural to want to exit the roadside ASAP, it’s not a good idea to accept rides from strangers. Wait for a tow truck or a friend or family member to arrive.

Be sure to read our 10 tips on what to do after a car accident.

Young guy calls for help with by broken down car.

Insurance when you need it most

We hope you feel a little bit more assured about who to call when your car breaks down on a highway, busy street, calm road… Anywhere, really. Remember: a fantastic car insurance policy that covers your car for fire, flood, storm, accident and more provides great peace of mind. It might even offer roadside assistance as part of its features or as an add-on.

We all know there’s nothing better than living and driving with the satisfaction of being safeguarded.

PD Insurance car insurance is affordable, reliable and easy to use. Click below and get started on a quote.

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