When you're car is broken down on the freeway late at night, that's when! When we moved to our new house over 2 years ago we had a long commute. We didn't realize how much stuff we had accumulated living in our old apartment. One day we decided to take our SUV to haul some kitchen items and clothing to save time. It was about 11PM on a Los Angeles freeway with little lighting. We were not prepared, had no flares or little traffic cones to alert the drivers behind us. We were in a semi-blind spot with a sharp turn. One careless driver and we would've ended up falling down the huge rock valley behind us. To add to that, the lighting was horrible, you could actually look up and see the stars... in Los Angeles.
The only lighting we had was the headlights of upcoming cars, it was terrifying. We had the highway patrol stop by about 1 1/2 later which was no help really. We were very short on cash and a long way from our destination. We had never needed a flatbed truck to get hauled anywhere, so we didn't know what to do. To add to the problem, we didn't know where we were, I only remembered an exit from 20min. earlier. I went on my cell phone and called about 14+ places with no luck, the majority were way too expensive. After another hour of being stranded one of the previous companies we had called stopped by and said they were free. We decided to go with him.
It's quite uncomfortable sitting in a flatbed truck with a stranger in the middle of the night as he takes you (and your broken down car) home. The feeling of being stranded with no help in a dangerous place is horrible and not something I want to ever experience again. As uncomfortable as the experience was, I asked him for a business card (to have in handy) and he offered me a discount if it ever happens again. He was quite friendly.
★Look up prices and number of local flatbed trucking companies around you and save their numbers and info on your phone. This WILL come in handy in the future, believe me.
★Consider buying some road flares and traffic cones. They don't take up much space in your car and will come in handy when you're stranded one day.
★If you have kids, make sure you talk to them about it and be sure to give them a pre-paid card in case of any car emergencies. I never carried extra cash when I was younger.