Fall is unquestionably the most beautiful season in many parts of the country. With leaves changing, many people set out on family road trips to enjoy the colorful foliage and cool, comfortable temperatures. Of course, many of the most beautiful leaf peeping opportunities are in less disturbed parts of nature, which can sometimes mean traveling off the beaten path.
A family adventure into the mountains can be a great source of memories that can last a lifetime. Still, it can be a more treacherous experience than many other automotive excursions. Whether you're an inexperienced mountain driver or an old hand at twisty roads, you won't want to ignore these four essential tips to prepare and deal with roadside emergencies in the mountains.
1. Check Coverage Maps
Smartphones are seemingly indispensable in modern life, but it's easy to forget that there are still areas with spotty or incomplete coverage. If you're traveling on rural mountain roads, especially in state or national parks, check cell phone coverage maps before you leave. Note areas without good coverage and be extra careful when driving through them.
If your car breaks down or you suffer an emergency in one of these areas, you can try calling 911 since your phone will attempt to connect to any available network. Only walk to a nearby emergency phone if one is very close or you have no other options.
2. Pull Over With Care
The usual advice for any breakdown is to get your car as far from traffic as possible. However, mountain roads sometimes have steep drops, unexpected ditches, and poorly marked drainage areas. While you should always avoid leaving your car on the road, pull off slowly and only into areas with clear visibility and lighting. This extra care will protect you and the roadside assistance track that arrives to help.
3. Research Roadside Assistance Companies
If you're traveling in a remote area, you may have cell coverage without a strong or reliable data connection. As a result, you might be able to make a call but not research local towing companies from your phone. To protect against this situation, research companies that service these remote areas before you leave or sign up with a roadside assistance program that offers national coverage.
4. Stay With Your Car
Once you call for roadside assistance, always stay with your car. Many narrow mountain roads provide limited visibility, and drivers will not expect pedestrians on or near the road. Additionally, there are unlikely safe sidewalks or trails near the road, and it can be surprisingly easy to get lost just a short distance from the road.
Although breaking down in the mountains can be scary, there's no reason it must be a dangerous ordeal. Instead, stay calm, keep aware of your surroundings, and always remain near your car while you wait for help to arrive.
For more information about roadside assistance, contact a local company.