With summer on the way, more and more people are thinking about hopping into their car and hitting the road for some sun and fun. While we all hope to have a trouble-free experience when we’re driving to our summer destinations, we can’t always count on it. Emergencies just happen. So how do you prepare for them? Five common roadside emergencies can happen to any driver this summer, but here’s how you handle them.
This is one of the most common emergencies. Flat tires can occur anywhere, and they have different causes, from something on the road piercing and blowing out your tire to a lack of diligence in checking that your tire pressure was still adequate for another season of driving.
Of course, the best way to be prepared for a flat tire is to ensure that you have a spare tire in your car. But have you recently checked the condition of your spare? One good preventive measure is to make sure the air pressure in your new set of tires is still acceptable, and so is that of your spare. Just remember, if you haven't used your spare tire for months or years, it's normal for it to have lost some air in that time.
All batteries have a limited lifespan, so eventually, your car battery will require replacement, but the energy can also drain prematurely under certain conditions. Leaving lights on and, more commonly in the summer, keeping the AC on while the car isn’t running are huge drains.
Be prepared with jumper cables. This will require a bit of practice to use them properly and roadside emergency assistance, either from passing drivers or calling professionals. Jumper cables transfer the critical start-up energy needed from another vehicle to your own.
Your car can overheat for different reasons, and depending on the cause, you may have a quick, easy fix, or you might need to bring your vehicle in for a major repair. Under normal circumstances, your car builds up heat that a component known as the radiator dissipates. When things go wrong, that heat isn’t properly vented, and it can cause your car spew steam and stop operating entirely.
If you notice your car is leaking some coloured fluid onto the road, you've probably got a leak, and you're just out of radiator fluid. Putting plenty of water into your car is a stopgap measure that will get you to a garage to get the leak patched and your fluid refilled. If it's some other cause, such as engine fan failure, or the radiator itself is no longer working, you’ll need roadside emergency assistance to tow you to a garage for help.
Running Out of Gas
You’d think that with gas gauges informing us of just how much fuel is left in a car, this would never happen. And yet, somehow, many people all over North America still find themselves trudging along the side of the road with an empty gas tank, hoping to find a nearby station to fill up.
If you see you’re running low, you can conserve gas until you arrive at a station. Slowing down to between 55 to 75 kph gives you maximum fuel efficiency, rather than speeding up to get to the nearest station.
Roll up the windows to decrease drag, and turn off the AC to increase fuel efficiency. And if you have access to roadside assistance, call it if you run out of gas on the road and can’t make it to a station. They can send someone over with enough fuel to get you going again.
As with overheating, there are numerous reasons for engine failure, and so there’s no one way to deal with engine failure until you know the cause. When you start to notice your car’s performance is dropping, always make sure to get to the side of the road, don’t remain in the centre.
For general emergencies, have a kit that includes items like hazard signals, flares, and other things. Make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit as well. And if you're fortunate enough to be driving a Kia, make sure to take advantage of Kia Roadside Assistance to help!