top of page
  • Writer's pictureFront Range Compliance

Experiencing a truck breakdown? What's next?

No matter how well your fleet is maintained, how spot on your vehicle maintenance program is, at some point one of your trucks will have a flat tire or a small unexpected problem causing your truck to stop on the side of the road waiting for assistance.

Emergency triangles on road behind commercial motor vehicle
Image derived from: https://schneiderjobs.com/blog/how-to-place-emergency-triangles

In an emergency situation a truck might have no choice but to stop in a dangerous place, so following a system to identify, assess and control risks it critical to ensuring a driver or other road user isn’t injured or killed. This post is for drivers and fleet managers who need to consider what their system is when the truck breaks down; tow truck drivers, mobile mechanics and mobile tyre suppliers will also need their own system of safety.


Commercial vehicles have malfunctions, just like all other vehicles. It is inevitable that your truck will break down at one point or another.


DOT University Logo

Avoid potential vehicle malfunctions with a Pre/Post Trip Inspection!

Pre/Post Trip Inspection Training online for your drivers will teach them to identify potential hazards with their vehicle and fill out the DVIR. Use code FRCS10 for $10 off the purchase of the course!


What to do in the event of a truck breakdown:

  1. Get the vehicle as far off the road if possible, preferably at least 3 meters from all passing traffic to allow you and others to walk along the vehicle safely. Make sure your vehicle is parked in a stable location (i.e. not on soft soil on the edge of a hill where you could risk your truck rolling).

  2. Put on your hazard lights so your truck is visible to other vehicles from a distance.

  3. Exit the vehicle on the opposite side of passing traffic, wearing a high visibility vest. Never stand in front of your lights.

  4. Place hazard warning triangles at the mandated distances.

  5. Contact your company and make them aware of the issues you are having and have them organize emergency repairs. Don’t attempt repairs yourself unless you are authorized and can do so safely while on the side of the road.

  6. If the vehicle is in a dangerous position, has left fluid on the road, or is carrying hazardous materials, contact law enforcement for assistance.

  7. In the event that you are unable to reach your company, you may be able to get hold of nearby truck drivers on your CB who can relay a message. Use your best judgement when asking for assistance and be sure to give detailed instructions.

  8. Chock the wheels if you have had to stop on a hill or if brakes are the reason for your breakdown.

  9. If your load is time-sensitive, such as mixed concrete, chilled freight or livestock, check your contingency plans.

  10. Never leave the truck unless absolutely essential.

  11. If you are unable to get the vehicle fixed on the side of the road, make sure to get the truck towed to a repair shop.

Remember, truck breakdowns happen to everyone and unless your vehicle is constantly in pristine condition it is bound to happen to you. Knowing what to do when it happens is absolutely essential!

Make sure to check out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We currently are offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Appendix A.

Until then, check out our other blogs or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to be the first to know when new classes are made available or for other updates like this! You can also opt-in to our newsletter for exclusive offers, regulation changes, and industry news!

Stay Off The Radar!

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page