There is never a convenient time to have your car break down on the side of the road, but a night time break down is one of the most frustrating times to have car trouble. Not only is it harder and less safe to deal with a break down in the dark, there are also no auto shops open to lend you a hand. The following guide can help you deal with an after hours roadside emergency safely and effectively.
Put safety first
Your first concern is other drivers, especially at night when visibility is low. Get your car as far off the road as possible to minimize the chances of a collision. Leave the hazards and lights on, if they are still operational, to alert other drivers to your presence. Otherwise, set up the road flares or reflective cones that are in your car's emergency kit, if you have one. It's generally safer to stay in the car with your seat belt on while awaiting a tow. If you must leave the vehicle, then stay well off the road and keep an eye on oncoming traffic until help arrives.
Determine a drop off location
During business hours, you can spend time while you await the tow truck contacting auto shops and determining the best location to drop off your car. At night, you don't have that convenience. If you already have a dependable mechanic, you can choose to drop off the car there. Check online or with their voicemail to see if they have after hours instructions for leaving a car, such as a key lockbox on site or special lot to park in. If you don't have a mechanic, then spend your wait time researching local shops online, particularly the reviews. Which ever shop you choose, leave a voice mail or call them first thing in the morning to explain why your car is there.
Remove everything that's important
You will be leaving your car unattended, possible with keys in a nearby lockbox, after dark. Do not leave anything important in the car. Of course, this means removing items like purses, gym bags, and laptops. It also means removing important paperwork, such as your registration documents, from the glove box and taking the garage door opener out of the car. These documents may not seem important, but they can be used in identity theft or as a way to rob your home if you leave a key or garage door opener in the car (your address is typically on your registration paperwork).
While breaking down is never fun, knowing what to do can make it much easier to deal with. It's a good idea to prepare by having the number of a dependable emergency towing services and a repair shop on hand in case you ever need to deal with a car emergency after hours.