What to do When Your Car Breaks Down in Extreme Cold

Man sitting on hood of broken down car in the cold

It’s the middle of winter, and you’re driving down the road when your car suddenly breaks down. You step outside and recognize that your car block has frozen, and you can’t go anywhere. What should you do? It’s a dangerous scenario, especially if you’re unfamiliar with extreme cold. In today’s blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on what to do when your vehicle breaks down in the cold and how to survive it.

1. Stay calm and stay in the car

The first thing you should do when you break down is to stay calm and stay in the car. Do not leave your vehicle, as being stuck is far safer than attempting to walk to find help. The cold can be extremely dangerous, and walking long distances in those conditions is risky. Plus, staying in the car will prevent hypothermia from setting in, especially if the car’s heating is operational.

2. Call for help

The next step is to call for help. Use a cell phone or any available phone in the vicinity to call for emergency roadside assistance or assistance from friends or family to come to your aid. Ensure they understand the severity of the situation so you can get help as soon as possible.

3. Turn on hazard lights and flares

As you wait for help, turn on your hazard lights to warn approaching vehicles of your situation and the need to move over. If you have flares, ignite them to make yourself more visible. Flares can also keep you warm, providing heat and light until help arrives.

4. Stay warm

One of the most important things you can do when your car breaks down in the cold is to stay warm. If your vehicle is running, be resourceful. Turn on the heat and try to cover yourself with newspapers, blankets, or anything else you can find. If your car battery is dead and you can’t turn on the heat, dress in layers and stay as dry as possible to avoid hypothermia.

5. Keep emergency supplies

Ensure your car has an emergency kit with first aid, warm blankets, snacks, water, spare batteries, flashlights, and a phone charger. These items will serve you well in case of any emergencies.


It can be scary when your car breaks down in the cold, but it’s essential to remain calm and stay in the car. Call for help, turn on your hazard lights, and stay warm by dressing for the weather, utilizing the car’s heater, and sharing body warmth. Finally, keep emergency supplies in your vehicle and remain comfortable until help arrives. Stay safe in the cold, and happy driving!


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