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6 steps to handle no-phone-reception vehicle emergencies

A Car Travelling On An Empty Road At Night.

Travelling is amazing, but traffic, not so much. The traffic congestion in Malaysia, especially during holiday season, is quite atrocious. In 2022, the Malay Mail reported about a family who got stuck in traffic for 25 hours while travelling from Perak to Shah Alam. Hence why some decided to embark on the road less travelled, the old road or ‘jalan kampung’.

Although it is less congested, travelling through ‘jalan kampung’ poses its own challenges such as small winding roads, limited rest stops, and weak mobile signals. At night, it can be pitch dark due to a lack of street lights and vehicles.

Now imagine cruising on an empty road, glad to avoid the unnecessary stress due to traffic congestion. Then all of a sudden, the warning light flickers, and the vehicle slows down before it finally halts – denying ignition. The phone shows no signal, hence forbidding contact. Centuries of technological advancement and revolution become futile. In that moment, when darkness overwhelms, silence prevails, panic sets in, and tears teeter on the edge – the big question echoes in the mind, ‘What do I do now?’

1. Cry it out and calm down

An Upset Young Woman In A Car.

Getting stranded on an isolated road is scary. You will freak out, and that is okay. That is human. Take a few minutes (or more) to shout and let it all out. But do not make any hasty decisions. Do not break your phone, do not bang your car, and do not hurt yourself. Scream, cry, and curse as much as you want to let the anger and frustration out of the system.

Once you’re done, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Wipe your tears, drink some water, clear your mind, and follow these next steps.

2. Perform self-inspection

A Long Haired Woman In A White Dress Checking Her Car Engine.

Find out what went wrong. The easiest way is to turn on your vehicle and check the dashboard warning lights. Each warning light indicates a different problem – commonly related to the engine oil, temperature, brake, or fuel.

If you’re unable to identify the problem using the dashboard warning light, then try inspecting the vehicle’s condition. Is there any smoke coming out of the hood? Do you notice any unusual smell? Is there any sound when you turn the ignition? This information will be useful when you’re calling for help later.

3. Never go out at night

An Empty Road With Yellow Lines At Night.

Even if you are brave, confident, and own the brightest flashlight in the world, please do not get out of your vehicle at night. The darkness imposes various threats, either from malicious humans or wild animals. You might also get lost due to limited visibility and navigation. Therefore, please lock and stay in your vehicle until the crack of dawn. It is never safe to walk in the dark.

4. Send SMS

A Pair Of Hands Typing On A Cell Phone.

The chances of obtaining an internet connection in an isolated area are slim to none. But not with basic mobile data. Try sending an SMS to your family or friends. Include important information such as the route name, car type, car colour, plate number, and visible landmarks. The SMS might not be delivered immediately but they’ll receive your SMS when your phone has one bar of connectivity, even for a few seconds.

5. Save your phone battery

A Phone And A White Powerbank Stacked On Top Of Each Other.

Put your phone in power-saving mode, even if you have a power bank. You’ll need to always be vigilant due to the uncertainty. There might be a sudden connectivity, but your phone ran out of battery. It will be a major missed rescue opportunity.

6. Walk but be wary

A Man Walking On An Empty Road In Daytime.

You may consider walking but be cautious of your surroundings. Take photos of prominent landmarks so that you won’t get lost. Avoid going into a stranger’s home – as you can never know their true intentions. Only stop at public spaces such as places of worship, shops, or stalls. Once you’ve found a safe place, charge your phone and call for help. Make sure you’re able to find a safe place before nightfall.

If you’re only able to get a basic mobile data signal, call the 999 emergency hotline and tell them your situation. Inform your current location, contact number, and wait. You may also contact your family or close friends.

However, if there is a strong internet connection, request help through the 24/7 auto assistance feature on the Setel app. Remember the inspection you conducted earlier? Include that information in the help request to get the right expert with the correct tools. Pin your current location and once the mechanic arrives, guide them to the actual location of your vehicle. With the correct information, they should be able to fix your vehicle in no time. If not, you may use the 24/7 auto assistance feature to request a tow truck that will take your vehicle to the nearest workshop.

Services By Setel 247 Auto Assistance.

Vehicle condition is crucial, especially when you’re taking a long-distance road trip. To avoid breakdowns, make sure you check your vehicle before embarking on a journey. But if you’ve done your inspection and the unwanted befalls, remember to prioritise your safety over anything else. And don’t worry, there is always a way out, even in the middle of nowhere.

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