It is important to know how to safely handle a roadside breakdown as a professional driver and what you should do in case of a breakdown. Be prepared by having the essentials equipment to secure the scene. Required equipment:

  • reflective warning triangles
  • fire extinguisher(s)
  • gloves
  • reflective vest
  • cell phone
  • CB radio
  • tool kit
  • blanket

Don’t panic when this occurs – be aware of vehicles that are surrounding you so you can take evasive action to move the vehicle off the road.  Find a safe area to stop if all possible like an exit ramp, emergency breakdown lane, or a road side shoulder. Make sure when exiting the highway that the vehicle is on the right side of the white line. Be cautious of soft shoulders as this may lead to a roll over or the vehicle becoming immobile.  Secure the scene by activating the hazard and parking lights and then put on you reflective vest before exiting the vehicle. Open the reflective triangles and carry them around your arm having the triangle visible to oncoming traffic. Place the triangles around the vehicle in accordance with the recommended distance for your location and road condition. Inspect the vehicle maintaining a safe distance between you and traveling vehicles to determine what cause the breakdown. Identify your location by highway, direction, mile marker, exit, landmark or GPS. Call your company or emergency breakdown service or road side assistance and explain in as much detail the condition that cause your breakdown. Be patient, you may be required to wait several hours before a road side service truck arrives. Change your HOS devise to reflective that you are broke down during this period. If your breakdown is mechanically, observe any change that would occur during the breakdown and if required for your safety exit the truck. 

Tire Failure

One of the most common issues you will encounter as a truck driver is tire failure. If this happens while driving, your priority should be to get off the road and if possible stop in a safe area. Then follow the suggested breakdown steps as indicated above. The road side service vehicle may request you to move to a location that is safe for the repair. If required to bring the failed tire back, secure the tire to the tractor or the trailer tire carrier. Taking pictures of the failed tire and the serial number will help in determining the cause and provide data for warranty. 

Engine Problems

We are seeing more after treatment failures caused by failed sensors, AHI modular, poor quality DEF fluid and plugged particular filters.  This may cause the truck to go into a de-rate mode, which will limit the distance and speed traveled. If this occurs, it is imperative that you stop the vehicle in a safe area as soon as possible and shut the engine off. Then follow the suggested breakdown steps as indicated above.  If the breakdown is not related to after treatment, then pull over as soon as possible and shut the engine off. 

Other Issues

There are many other issues that can affect a truck while it is being driven. Most of these issues can be avoided by completing a thorough vehicle inspection, reporting vehicle defectives and having an excellent maintenance program. 


As a professional truck driver, it’s important to know how to handle a roadside breakdown safely. Here at Seward Motor Freight, Inc. your safety is important to us, and with the proper training we do everything possible to help our drivers when a breakdown occurs and get back on the road as quickly and safety as possible. Nobody wants to breakdown and here at Seward Motor Freight, Inc. we provide 24 hour breakdown service. 

Consider coming to drive for Seward Motor Freight, Inc. today! A company that cares about you.