Roadside assistance is a type of service which provides assistance to drivers whose vehicles have suffered a breakdown that has left them stranded on the roadway. This service is usually provided either by the government or by commercial service providers, and it can come in the form of an insurance policy or a member's subscription fee.
In Europe, a popular form of this service is available through each country's national automobile membership association, although similar services may be found with private companies who specialize in roadside assistance. For both Europe and North America, some vehicle manufacturers offer free roadside assistance for a limited period of time following the vehicle's purchase.
Also known as car breakdown cover and emergency roadside repair, this service can assists with a number of situations, either by jump-starting the vehicle on location, towing the vehicle, helping to change a flat tire, fixing a mechanical failure, recovering a vehicle that is trapped in ice or snow, providing a small amount of fuel or helping people who are locked out of their vehicles. Some close-knit communities offer free roadside assistance to other members within the community, usually in the form of volunteer work.
Roadside assistance services appear to have originated with motor clubs (such as the United States' American Automobile Association or the United Kingdom's Automobile Association), and were provided upon presentation of a membership card. The main purpose of such associations is to provide certain benefits to driving enthusiasts upon contributing with an annual membership fee. With the development of fleet management and GPS technology, roadside assistance has become widely included in the auto insurance packages of numerous insurance companies.
In some areas, car breakdown services are available around the clock, and if the car requires complex repairs, a number of specialized programs even include support with accommodation and rental vehicles. While useful for every driver, roadside assistance is particularly important for motorists who embark on long journeys by car, truck drivers, mobile home drivers and off road drivers.
Moreover, when selecting a suitable roadside assistance program, one aspect to consider is finding a company with the expertise and experience to provide damage-free towing.
You'll find bloggers talking about roadside assistance at sites like atg.wa.gov and cnet.com.
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