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This can be a really unpleasant situation and with all the technology integrated in modern cars, it can be avoided. Today there is a computer for everything. Start the engine? No problem! ‘The computer’ will do that. Open a window? Of course! ‘The computer’ will sort that thing for you. Turn left? ‘The computer’ will “check” the mirror before you do to make sure that the maneuver is safe. But what to do if the technology fails?  What to do if the car stops on the side of the road? What to do if you can’t ask for help? Well, it depends from situation to situation but one thing remains unchanged: try to stay as safe as possible.


First of all try to remove the car from the road. Push it or stop it on the side of the road where it doesn’t trouble other road users but is still visible. Because you don’t know what type of failure is, prepare the fire extinguisher. Next, take the reflective triangles and mount them at about 50 meters behind the car. Also, put on the high visibility jacket. After doing all that, things get a little tricky.

One thing to do is to try to mend the car on your own. That implies some automotive knowledge and a good set of tools. Of course, with that much technology buried inside the car, your job may be in vain. Check the warning light displayed on the dash board. If that doesn’t help, there are some old tricks that might just work. First check that you have fuel in the tank and that the fuel pump works. Next, check if the battery is in working condition. Next, for gasoline engines, check that all the spark plugs are working properly (for diesel engines check that the incandescent plugs are working, although, starting the engine may not require them if the outside temperature was high enough). If any of this trick didn’t work, look in the engine compartment for any unusual signs: leaks, ruptured belts, disconnected wires, cracked hoses. Sometimes the smallest thing can cause the biggest damage.

Another thing you can do is of course, call someone to mend your car at site. There are some companies specialized in doing that and, if you have phone signal, don’t hesitate to call them. If the car can’t be fixed, they will be able to tow you to the nearest town or car service.

Another thing to do is to call at the car manufacturer. I know it sounds unusual, but with that much technology on the car, the manufacturer is able to track the car and even to diagnose it remotely. In some cases they can also fix some soft failure and in other cases they could be able to tell you what is broken and even order the spare parts required and send them to you. On one way this is a good thing but on the other way it isn’t because someone can track your every move, know the speed you were doing and even control remotely the car. This makes you think, doesn’t it?

Anyway, one thing is certain. For any of these situations, try to stay as safe as possible. Be visible to other road users, don’t go too far from the car and don’t be afraid to be creative.

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