Hiring a car means that you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest. You always wish for the perfect trip, but life being what it is, things don't always go according to plan. If your hire car should break down or, worse still, you're involved in an accident, it can be stressful, especially if you happen to be in a different country.
If something should go wrong while driving your hire car, don't panic. Stay calm and assess the situation, then act accordingly.
Here are some tips to help you if your hire car breaks down:
- If you can, carry on until you can find a safe place to pull off of the road.
- If your hire car develops problems on a motorway, carefully make your way to the hard shoulder.
- Exit on the opposite side to the flow of traffic after turning on the hazard lights on your hire car.
- Never walk on the motorway; you could be hit by another vehicle or cause a serious accident.
- Find a safe place away from the road for you and your passengers.
- Call for help from a mobile phone or an emergency roadside phone if you can reach one safely.
- If you can't make it to the hard shoulder, switch on your warning lights. Stay in your hire car and remain belted in for safety.
- Don't attempt to cross a fast, busy road. Cars are always going faster than they appear and a person on foot won't stand a chance. In most places, it's illegal to walk on these roads.
- If your hire car starts again and is fit to continue the journey, take extra care when merging back in with the traffic. Make sure that you have a very good gap before leaving the hard shoulder and that you are driving your hire car at a suitable speed.
- Be especially careful if your hire car breaks down at night. Make sure that you switch the hazard lights on and use a reflective triangle if it's safe for you to do so.
- Try to wear something you can easily be seen in.
- Make sure that you can be seen clearly by other drivers. Use your hire car's sidelights. You could also turn on the interior light.
- If you are sure that you can fix the hire car yourself quickly and easily, do so. Don't attempt this on fast moving roads or if it puts you in the way of passing cars. Be especially careful at night. Remember that your safety comes first.
- If you wait in your hire car, lock all of the doors. Be cautious if anyone approaches you, especially if you are alone or in the dark.
- When driving, keep track of where you are so that you can give details of your hire car's location if necessary.
- Putting up the bonnet will indicate that you are having problems with your hire car.
- If someone stops to help you, be very wary of going off with them in their car.
- Most places have patrols that are on the lookout for breakdowns and problems. If you have no phone and can't get to one, sit and wait to be found. Do not leave your hire car.
- If the weather is hot, stay hydrated whilst waiting.
Here is a list of tips to help you if you should find yourself involved in an accident while driving your hire car:
- Keep calm. If you are unhurt, assist others if you can do so without putting yourself at risk.
- Don't move anyone who is seriously injured, or who may have hurt his or her neck or back in any way. Leave this to the professionals.
- If you can get people out of the hire car and to safety, do so.
- Put on your hire car's hazard lights and use a warning triangle if you can do so safely.
- Turn off your hire car's engine.
- Phone for help. Always report any incident.
- Do not leave the scene. Stay near, but at a safe distance from other traffic or any burning vehicles.
- Even if it is a minor accident with no real injuries, you should always swaps details with any other drivers involved, as you will need this information later to make any claims.
- Know who to contact about your hire car, and do so as soon as possible.
- If there are any witnesses, get their details, as they will be needed later.
- Each country has different laws regarding the proper channels to go through when an accident has occurred. Make sure that you find out what you have to do and the time limit within which you must do it.
- If possible, move the cars involved away from the flow of traffic.
- Take photos using a camera or mobile phone. These can help greatly with any reports and claims that may be made.
- Never say that the accident was your fault while you're at the scene.
- Do not approach or return to a car that is on fire.
- If you are hurt, stay still and wait for help.
- Keep all paperwork safe, along with any hospital and medical certificates that may be issued.