Rock Talk

What to do if Your Car Breaks Down in NJ

Last updated on October 28, 2019 at 12:22 pm

It can be a frightening experience to be stranded on the side of a highway. Just a few feet from you, cars and fully loaded tractor-trailers are blowing by at speeds of 65 mph or more. Sometimes your car even shakes as they pass.

If you think something is wrong with your car or it’s not operating correctly, here is what to do if your car breaks down in NJ. While this is a general guide, every situation will be different and you will need to take different actions.

Pull Over

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) recommends slowing down and going as far onto the shoulder or median as possible. You want to put some distance between yourself and traffic. Once you’re off the road, put your car in park and, if possible, use the emergency brake.

Make Sure Others Can See You

Turn on your emergency flashers. If it’s dark outside, turn on your car’s dome light as well. Only if it is safe to do so, raise your car’s hood so others know your car is disabled and deploy flares or reflective triangles behind your car.

Call for Help

Call for roadside assistance if you are a member of a motor club or if you have this service through your insurance company. If you’re a Teachers’ Insurance Plan of NJ customer call 888-676-5449 for assistance. If you’re a Plymouth Rock New Jersey customer with roadside assistance call 855-513-5174.

If you’re on the New Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway, roadside assistance gets a little tricky as private services aren’t allowed to operate on those roads, according to If you’re on the Turnpike, dial #95 for roadside assistance. If you’re on the GSP, dial #477 for assistance. If you don’t have a cell phone while on either of those highways, wait for a state police patrol.

Stay in Your Car

Both the NJ MVC and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority recommend staying inside your vehicle with your seat belt fastened. However, if your car is smoking or on fire, get out! The North Brunswick Township Police recommends keeping your doors locked while waiting for professional assistance. They advise that if a passerby stops to help you, ask them through a closed or cracked window to call the police for you.

More Resources

4 thoughts on “What to do if Your Car Breaks Down in NJ

  1. Hi Maria,

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. We’ll be following up with the email you provided to see what else we can do. – MB

    1. Queen: Thank you for your feedback and for reading our blog! Please check back regularly as we are always adding new content.

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