Monday, September 25, 2023


Have you ever had to walk more than a mile for help after a vehicle breakdown?

Has your car or RV ever broken down on the side of the road? What did you do when that happened? Did you stay and fix the problem yourself? Did you call for assistance? Did you have to walk to find help?

If you did have to walk to find help, how far did you have to walk? (We hope it wasn’t too far!)

Please vote in the poll below and leave a comment telling us about the time your RV or other vehicle broke down on the side of the road. We want to know what happened and what you did!

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


  1. Back in the Jurassic period (mid-70s) I was traveling with my infant son from FL to VA to visit a friend. I got off I-95 at the border of GA and SC because I-95 wasn’t finished yet so you had to drive on another route to pick it up in the other state where it started up again. At the end of the ramp my ancient VW van just came to a stop and stayed there. I could not shift it into any gear (pressure plate broke, I found out later.) I made up a couple of signs saying, “Need help” and put them in the back and starboard side windows. People passed. No one stopped. It was hot. Eventually, after an hour or more, I put my son in his stroller and began to walk into the nearby town. I hadn’t gotten across the bridge over the end of the interstate before someone stopped and offered us a ride. Turns out the state police turn around at the exit just before this one because “nobody ever gets off here.”

  2. Driving from NE Ohio to Kentucky several years ago and my headlights grew dim and the car eventually stopped between exits on I-71. I walked to the next exit and found an open gas station with an on-duty mechanic. After I explained how things transpired before my car quit, he concluded that the battery was bad. Unfortunately, he was alone and could not tow the car. So, I walked back to the car, removed the battery, and walked back to the station. After the battery was fully charged (for a modest fee), I tooke the battery back to my car and reinstalled it. I drove to the next exit and spent the night in my car. The next morning I reached my destination by avoiding all unnecessary drains on the battery and took the car to a local shop. They found the alternator belt was too loose and my battery trouble evaporated once the belt was sufficiently tight. Penniless colege students with little technical skill and gracious mechanics are a great match!

  3. Yes, took a girl out on a date and afterwords we parked and chatted for awhile near Prosser lake, California. It was a cold snowy evening. We decided to end the night and when I attempted to start the vehicle we were met with a clicking sound, battery dead. It was 3 miles back to the main road and no homes in the area at the time. And it was a time when cell phones were non existent. So we both bundled up and walked back to the main road and got a ride back to town. Once back in town I got a hold of a friend and we went back out to the vehicle. And wouldn’t you know it it started right up. The young lady never went on another date with me again while I was home on leave headed to Viet Nam. Oh well her loss.

  4. Are you serious, lol? I was a divorced Mom raising my kids with no financial help from their father. So, of course I’ve walked more than a mile after my junker cars broke down; it was a regular part of my life. Thankfully, those days are long gone!

  5. We broke down on the thruway in St. Louis in the middle of the night back in the 1980’s. Police pulled over to ask us why we were walking on the thruway. We explained that our car quit. He then told us where to find the closest gas station and how far the exit was and then drove off leaving us to continue our walk . By the time we got back to our car the battery had been stolen.

  6. Waaaaay back when I was much younger and was 6’2″ tall with waist-length natural blonde hair, 2 or 3 times my car broke down on I-5 north of Seattle. Each time as soon as I got out of my car a dude would pull over and either fix it, or take me to the nearest gas station.

    Then one time I was riding with my younger sister on I-5 when her car broke down. She pulled onto the shoulder and I was the first one out to look under the hood, and some dude pulls over to help us. Her comment to me afterwards: “How come he pulled over for you? No one ever pulls over to help ME!” Well, what can I say? She was quite perturbed, to say the least. 😆 —Diane at

  7. Not that I can remember. But a coworker and I had a truck throw a rod while driving near a CIA training camp. I had seniority, so he was the one who had to hike for help. While I was waiting, we were checked out by a low-flying helicopter, which made the wait a little more interesting.

  8. When I was a teenager my father & I broke down a long way from anywhere. We walked about 15 miles before a family member searching for us picked us up about 1am. A more recent rv breakdown was handled with a cell phone call to road service … much easier!

  9. Sure have. With my wife and one son. Out getting a load of wood out in the hills. Became stuck in a mud puddle. Walked in the dark about 5 miles packing my son on my back and going through a creek several feet high. Finally got a ride in the back of a pickup that stopped and gave us a ride in back the rest of the way – no cell phones back then. Later my brother – in – law took a tow truck out and pulled it out of the mud.

  10. When i was a teenager my dad was not paying attention to the gas gauge and I had to walk to the nearest exit for gas.

    I personally have been very fortunate to never have had a breakdown that was not in my driveway or another convenient location.

  11. Country road. Probably one vehicle every 3 or 4 days. About 6 miles to a crossroads with more traffic. But then I was 16 years old and could do it. Now…at 72..????

  12. I did walk to a church parking lot that we could see in the distance, to see if I could get turn around after missing our turn into the campground on a very narrow road. I meet a nice girl who gave me a ride to another place where I might be able to get turn around church lot was too small. Then she drove me back to the campground. I found out where to park. Well long story made short got back to RV where I found my wife was hysterical on phone with 911. I was gone about 50 maybe 65 mins. We have a new rule Never leave RV without your phone. Funny Now but not at the time.

  13. I voted “no” because I didn’t have to walk, but several years ago while on a winter camping trip in Colorado, a training trip for a Denali mountain climb a few months later, my son had to ski out a few miles to call for service. While putting on coats in the Jeep Cherokee I had my son had bumped a dome light switch and we came back to a dead battery.

  14. On a lonely road I took out my oil pan. Thirteen miles to the nearest help. Okay, start hoofing it. It got dark, snowy and I could see large wolf tracks in the snow made no more than ten minutes before my arrival. After four miles a pickup truck came along and gave me a ride. That was in 1974. Couldn’t walk that far today.

  15. Didn’t have to walk, but had to wait 2-3 hours for a truck to change out the flat on the snowmobile trailer (with 2 snowmobiles on it), in a bad snow storm, on my way to meet up with husband & friends). Couldn’t get more than half out of the roadway because it was a long stretch that dropped off sharply & the trailer would turn sideways when I tried. Not a comfortable couple hours. After that we got bigger wheels & no more flats. The previous trip had a flat going & coming back!

  16. Spun an axle on my 70 Fiat 850 Spider going up Sevier canyon in Utah on my to California from Colorado in ’73. I hitched a ride to Cove Fort, no help there. Hitched a ride back to Sevier and got help. Towed there and I was able to find enough parts to fix it and continue west. Nobody there had a clue about an exotic foreign sports car.
    Many more breakdown incidents, but not all as memorable.

  17. I voted “No”, then after reading the comments, I remembered once as a teenager (almost 50 years ago) my friend and I were snow sledding – in Georgia! Such a rare occurrence, you had to take advantage of every opportunity you had to sled. My dad agreed to pick me up and bring me home when he got off work. The paved road was too icy, and he opted for the gravel “back road”. We couldn’t make it through on it either and ended up walking 2 miles after dark in the snow. A kind gentleman gave us a ride the last mile home – on his tractor. I sat on the fender. Nice memory, but I would not want to do it again!

  18. What memories. Running out of gas when we were young. No planning. Teaches you a lesson.of course, then there were no such thing as a cell. Communication is much better now. Back in those days I lived in California. Luckily you had a emergency phone every quarter mile that was a godsend. Never ran out of gas after that.

  19. 4 miles in a pouring rain. I just decided to enjoy the exercise and savored the clean fresh rain. I was almost sorry when my journey ended. Almost.

  20. I actually had to walk twice for one breakdown. Pre-cell phone days. I came out of a store over a mile from my house and found my van with a dead battery and I knew that anyone I could call was either in school or at work. I enjoy walking so I headed for home, where I got my work truck. Then I returned my van and jump started it with the truck. Drove the van home and while I was walking back to my truck it dawned on me that I could have ridden my bicycle back to the truck. Like I said, I enjoy walking. That’s not the same as having to walk.

  21. Never had to walk as there has always been some helpful “Good Samaritan” stopping to lend a hand. However when our coach broke down on the Cassier Highway in northern British Columbia when returning from Alaska we had to drive our car 40 miles back north to a location where they had a satellite phone to call Coach-Net emergency road service to arrange for two tow trucks to haul our coach and our 30 foot cargo trailer over 200 miles to Terrance BC for repairs.

  22. Car camping the summer of 1989 with my wife and daughter in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada when our car died in Gros Morne National Park. No cell phones then, so walked back several miles to the house of a family that from all the nets out drying one could see made their living from fishing and asked to use their phone. Called CAA (AAA) and knew I was in trouble when the friendly southern US voice said “Gros Morne where?” Had car towed by a local mechanic in the nearby village of Rocky Harbour. His wife then drove us to a nearby B&B and when the new fuel pump didn’t arrive on the bus from the supplier, the mechanic call a customer with the same car and swapped out his pump so we could continue our trip. Typical Newfoundland friendliness as subsequently displayed in the musical “Come from Away” about how Newfoundland sheltered the passengars of grounded planes during 911. If you haven’t visited Newfoundland, you don’t want to miss it – spectacular scenery and welcoming people.

  23. After everyone had left the church Sunday night, and the parking lot was empty except for my car, I found that the battery had died. Since we only had one car, and this being before cell phones, I had to walk back home (over a mile) that night.


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