When a new baby arrives, you prepare…for everything. Ever seen the contents of a diaper bag? Its level of preparedness would rival any SEAL rucksack. New parents learn real quick to have a plan of action ready for most scenarios.
Unfortunately, most don’t make a plan for when the car breaks down.
  • What happens when there is no one to come pick you and the child(ren) up from where you broke down at?
  • Is it even possible to secure a child’s car seat in a tow truck?
  • OK, maybe you can get one car seat to fit in the tow truck, but you have two car seats and a booster. Now what?
  • Even if you do have family & friends, will they be able to drop everything and come to your rescue by the time the tow truck arrives? Do they have a vehicle big enough to carry you and your entourage of kiddie care essentials?
Those are questions that every new parent should be prepared to answer in a heartbeat. Just like you would make a plan for a fire emergency, you should prepare in advance a roadside assistance plan in case your car has a breakdown.
  1. This is number one for a reason. THIS needs to be done right away no matter what. Get an emergency bag packed just for the car. There are many pre-made options available but you will want to add your own favorites and specific needs. For parents, this can also be a great extension of the diaper bag.
  2. Find a local towing company. Do not rely on your current roadside assistance plans. They are unreliable and are cheap or free for a reason. You will pay for it in time and aggravation. You don’t have the luxury of time when you are on the side of the road with kids and you sure don’t need the aggravation of babysitting a tow truck driver that is running 3 hours late. Here are some things to look for when you research for the right towing service for your needs…
a. Look for a local tow truck company that also does roadside assistance. Most people don’t know that many towing companies don’t even change flat tires with your spare.
b. make sure the tow company is reliably available 24 hours every day. You will be surprised at how many say they are a 24-hour tow truck company but will not even answer the phone after hours.
c.This is an important question to ask them. Make sure they have a vehicle to accommodate your child(ren)s’ transportation needs. Mention how many car seats you have and the type to ensure there are enough seat belts for all the kids’ car seats. Anyone with physical disabilities needs to address this since many can’t climb up into a tall tow truck. Many tow truck companies might have a 4 door tow truck but some people can’t climb up into one. Uber, Lyft, or a Taxi will not pick you up on the side of the road. You need to make sure the towing company has a car, van or other suitable transportation to get you home.
d. Notice I said home. Most towing companies will only bring you to the repair shop and leave you there. Back to, what if no family or friends are available to get you home with all the kids?
e. Another important thing is to confirm if the towing company transportation is allowed to bring you to the destination of your choice, not to the repair shop. This type of service will be extra but is so worth it when you factor in the alternative. Otherwise, you have to bring your broke down vehicle to your home. That means you have to get it towed again and wait around for another tow truck yet one more time. This will end up costing more in money and time. Don’t forget many roadside assistance plans will not cover a tow from home since it is not an emergency. That means the second tow may not be eligible for reimbursement.
f. Don’t go cheap or discount on roadside assistance and towing service. Remember you are not only placing your second most expensive investment in their hands but also your kids’ lives.
3. Once you find the perfect roadside assistance and towing company, ask them about reimbursement. Yep, all you have to do is submit your receipt to any roadside assistance memberships that you may have including those that come with your phone, credit card, or insurance policy. Paying up front puts you at the front of the queue which results in much faster service.
4. Don’t forget contingency plans for when Plan A fails. Don’t think that Mom, Dad, or your friend will always be able to drop everything at a moments notice. Worse, what if you have them with you, too?
There is no such thing as over-prepared, especially when you are in a deadly situation on the side of the road. You don’t want to be stuck making these kinds of decisions in crisis mode, frantically searching for a way to get your family out of a dangerous area. Do not rely on ordinary roadside assistance membership clubs. They only provide a false sense of security.
Taking a few minutes now to research and program the number of a reliable local tow truck company will save you lots of headaches later. And you will feel better knowing you have a secure plan to always protect your family when your car breaks down.
Author: Robyn Hart
Social Media Director
A-HESSCO Roadside Assistance & Towing Innovations