In the movies, being broken down by the side of the road with no civilization in sight usually leads to bigger problems. However, if your transmissions strands you, there are things you can do to improve the situation. Keep reading to learn from these motorists how to deal with this unfortunate predicament.

Alicia Jarvis

Alicia Jarvis

Alicia Jarvis is a blogger at WelcomeDriver. She’s been working in the industry for two years now and is passionate about all facets of driving.

3 Smart Steps

Find out where you are.
Getting a precise location will drastically help anyone coming to help you. Look out for road signs or use the GPS feature in your phone or in-car device.

Stay with your car.
Your car may contain valuables and will offer you shelter from the environment. Try to stay with your car. If you need to head-off, stick a note with your name and contact details on the windscreen.

Call for help.
If you have breakdown cover, give them a call. Otherwise, look up and call a local towing company for help. If you don’t have cell service, try waving down other vehicles or walking to a gas station.

Maneuver Safely Off the Road and Call for Help

Turn Your Emergency Flashers On
If you start experiencing car transmission failure, turn your emergency flashers on. Having your flashers turned on will let others know that your car is in trouble. You will be given space to drive your vehicle towards the side of the road if others see your car is not working.

Guide Your Vehicle to the Side of the Road
You shouldn’t panic if your car transmission fails. Even if you’ve lost the power steering and brakes, you’ll still be able to pull your car over. Move your car somewhere safe and use your emergency brake.

Try Restarting Your Car
If you can, try restarting your vehicle. However, if you’re unable to, wait for help to come.

Ask for help
As soon as you’ve placed your vehicle somewhere safe, call for help. Wave down other drivers and ask if they can assist. You can also call someone who lives or works nearby.

Arnold Chapman

Arnold Chapman

Arnold Chapman, Founder, and CEO of
Rob Swinburne

Rob Swinburne

Rob Swinburne is a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Surge Marketing Solutions, a full-service digital agency based in the UK.

Getting Help in the Middle of Nowhere

If your car breaks down, it’s never great. Breaking down in the middle of nowhere, however, can be a stressful and sometimes scary experience. Of course, if your car has broken down, you should phone a recovery service, but that can be impossible if you are stuck in an area with no service.

Your transmission failing means you most likely can’t drive your car. Depending on what has gone wrong with the car, you might be able to drive in one gear, but that gear only. If your car is undrivable and you have no service, the best plan is to call emergency services.

If you can’t contact anyone for assistance, the best thing to do is to walk to the nearest town or village. Wait until morning to do this if it’s night. Once you get to the town, ask for assistance or call someone to come and recover the vehicle.

Emergency Steps to Reach Help

The options available to you if your transmission fails in the middle of nowhere will depend on the type of failure.

The first thing you should always check is the fluid levels. If it is low or depleted, then you should top it off, assuming you have it readily available. This may take care of the problem temporarily and get you on your way.

If your vehicle is automatic and won’t go past a certain gear, you may be able to drive slow enough to keep RPMs below 3000 and not strain the motor. If the revolutions are too high, you will cause the vehicle to overheat and be unable to continue driving.

If it will not engage when you put it into “D,” you can try to manually shift into “L” or “D2” to get the gears to engage.

On manual transmission vehicles, it is rare to see all gears give out at the same time. It is usually a single gear that fails, in which case, you should be able to skip over the gear and engage the next instead.

These options are only to drive to a shop or mechanic or a location where you may be able to get towed. They are temporary workarounds only and still require a professional to diagnose and fix the full extent of the problem.

If at any point when you use these temporary solutions you smell burning or your vehicle begins to overheat, you will need to pull over immediately to avoid further damage. At that point, your only option is to put the vehicle into neutral and push it to a location where it will be able to be towed.

Mark Beneke

Mark Beneke

Mark Beneke is the owner of Westland Auto Sales in Fresno, CA.
Jake McKenzie

Jake McKenzie

Jake McKenzie is the Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage.

Call for Roadside Assistance

The first thing to do when your car breaks down is to pull over to a safe place. You should park somewhere as visible as possible, like a flat and open area rather than just around a tight corner or at the bottom of a small hill. You can always put your hazard lights on to help raise your visibility.

Many modern insurance policies include roadside assistance. Determine your location as closely as possible, and then call roadside assistance or an independent towing company to get you into a shop.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.