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5 Steps to Take When You Need Roadside Assistance

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Unexpected problems on the road can be a hassle. Here’s how to deal with them

It happens: a breakdown on the road. Inevitably almost every driver experiences some kind of roadside problem, whether it’s a flat tire, dead battery or some other issue. But don’t worry: If you have a paid OnStar plan,*1 all you need to do is push your blue OnStar button to request Roadside Assistance*13 from an OnStar Advisor, who will contact a local service provider to send help.

You can also request Roadside Assistance through the OnStar Guardian™ app,*58 or by calling 1.888.4ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827) from any phone. In addition, with a Connected Services plan,*2 you can request help through your vehicle mobile app,*20 or even right from your vehicle’s infotainment system — simply tap the screen and select the service you need.

Here are five things to know before a breakdown to help everything go as smoothly as possible.

Locate Your Emergency Kit
We’ve talked before about essential items you should have in your car for situations just like this, so be sure to safely locate your emergency kit when roadside trouble strikes. Consume bottled water and snacks sparingly if you’re stranded for a long time. Meanwhile, a flashlight can help at night, and a first-aid kit can be used to address minor injuries. If you’re stranded in cold weather, be sure to use a blanket, hat, and gloves from your emergency kit to stay warm while you wait for assistance.
Get to Safety
If something happens to your vehicle when you’re on the road, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so. If you’re on the highway and are able to do so, exit as quickly as possible and find a nearby parking lot. If that’s not possible, pull onto the shoulder as far away from the road on the right-hand side as you are able to. If there’s no shoulder or you’re in a tunnel, pull as far to the right as possible.
Increase Your Visibility
Highway driving can be monotonous, which means other drivers may not be paying as much attention as they should be. If you have a breakdown, keep your emergency flashers and headlights on, even if you’re on the shoulder. Try to avoid spots where the vision of oncoming drivers may be impeded, such as after a sharp turn. To further increase your vehicle’s visibility, put down reflective triangles or road flares to notify oncoming drivers, but only if it is safe to do so. Staying visible is especially important in inclement weather, like rain, snow or fog.
Exit the Vehicle Only When It’s Safe to Do So
Do not exit the vehicle until you are clear of the road, and then only on the right side of the vehicle away from traffic. If you’re in an area where there’s no safe space for you to wait, such as a road with no shoulder, do not exit the vehicle. Keep all of your lights on, including your emergency flashers and interior lights, stay buckled in and wait for help to arrive.
Practise Patience
Once you’ve contacted OnStar and an Advisor has told you that help is on the way, it’s best to wait for the professionals rather than trying to deal with a roadside problem yourself or flag someone else down — especially if you’ve broken down on the highway. Fixing a flat a few feet away from vehicles travelling at highway speeds is incredibly dangerous.