7 Tips for Navigating Roadside Emergencies with Kids in Tow

Roadside emergencies are never ideal, especially if you have kids in tow. Dealing with a roadside emergency is stressful enough when only adults are in the vehicle, but trying to manage a roadside emergency while dealing with crying kids and dirty diapers is a whole new ballgame.

When children are a part of the picture, you need to have an action plan in place well before you ever hit the road. So, what can you do as a parent to be prepared before and during a roadside emergency? Let’s review seven tips that can help you handle a roadside emergency when kids are involved.

#1. Stock your vehicle with an emergency kit.

Unforeseen circumstances can happen anywhere, anytime. By preparing ahead of time for a roadside emergency, you put yourself in the best position to safely and quickly manage the situation.

Keeping an emergency kit in your car is one of the easiest ways to prepare for a roadside emergency before your vehicle even breaks down.

What items should you put in an emergency kit? If your tire goes flat or your car battery dies, you need automobile maintenance supplies on hand, such as:

  • Jumper cables
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Jack
  • Air compressor
  • Spare tire
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Road flares or warning reflective triangles

In addition, personal preparedness items often come in handy during roadside emergencies. A well-rounded emergency kit should also include a:

  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Blanket
  • Whistle

And last but not least, a car full of kids calls for a specialized emergency stockpile consisting of:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Snacks
  • Water

If you have to wait around for help to arrive, those granola bars and goldfish crackers might be the difference between keeping your sanity intact or going bonkers while wrangling a hungry toddler.

#2. Move your car to the shoulder, if possible.

Roadside emergencies come in a variety of forms. Your car engine could start to smoke while driving down the highway, or you could get a flat tire while traveling to your child’s soccer tournament.

Whenever and wherever your emergency takes place, try to get your vehicle off the roadway and out of traffic. Furthermore, if your car troubles begin in a curved portion of the roadway, see if you can coast long enough to get your automobile into a more visible area. Depending on the condition of your car, your goal should be to get as far out of the flow of traffic as possible.

Leaving your car in the middle of a busy roadway or highway is very dangerous. The safest place to park your car during a roadside emergency is the shoulder.

#3. Make your vehicle visible.

You need to do all you can to make your vehicle visible to oncoming traffic. Otherwise, you put yourself, your kids, and other drivers on the road at risk of serious injury.

Turn on your hazard lights. If you can safely do so, set out those flares or warning triangles. (Hint, hint – they should be in that emergency kit you packed into the trunk.) No matter what method you use, it is well worth the effort to alert other drivers that your automobile is having trouble. Do not disregard this safety precaution.

#4. Determine whether or not to remain in your automobile.

Use your best judgment to determine whether you should keep yourself and your kids in the vehicle. If your car is a fire risk, definitely exit the vehicle. If you were not able to pull over to the shoulder of the road, it may not be the best choice to remove children from your car in the middle of a roadway. Moving kids around in the midst of a high-traffic area is simply not safe.

If you decide to stay inside your vehicle, keep everyone buckled up. Do not take off your seatbelts. If you choose to exit your automobile, keep everyone as far away from moving traffic as possible. Also, consider having everyone exit out the passenger side of the vehicle to steer clear of oncoming cars.

#5. Call for assistance, if needed.

Once again, you will be the best judge of whether or not you need help. Perhaps you are a car catastrophe pro and can get a flat tire swapped out in no time, so no additional support is needed. On the other hand, maybe you know how to change out a flat tire, but you were not able to move your car a safe distance off the roadway. In this case, asking for the assistance of police to divert traffic would be a smart idea.

If managing a roadside emergency alone is not in your wheelhouse, then call for assistance as soon as you get the chance. If there is a medical emergency, most definitely call 911 for help. If your vehicle is too far gone and not repairable, don’t hesitate to seek out a Utah tow company. There is no shame in needing help, and it’s usually best to err on the side of caution.

#6. Stay with your vehicle until help arrives.

While mustering up patience can be difficult to do during a roadside emergency, do not abandon your car before help arrives. For example, let’s say you conduct a quick internet search for “emergency towing services near me” and find a tow company that can arrive in 45 minutes. While that might seem like a long time, you need to stay near your vehicle. A tow truck operator will want to make contact with you before beginning his or her work.

There are a few exceptions to this tip, though. If someone in your party is facing a medical emergency and needs immediate attention, leaving your car behind is the best move. Also, if law enforcement officials direct you to not stay with the vehicle, then it is wise to follow those directions.

#7. Keep calm and carry on.

No doubt, roadside emergencies are super stressful. But as the old saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?!” Children feed off anxiety and tension, so it is in your best interest to stay calm amidst the chaos. You got this!


7 Tips for Navigating Roadside Emergencies with Kids in Tow