If you find yourself broken down on the side of the road, there are a few things you can try before you make the decision to call out a tow truck. This way, you can get yourself back on the road without needing to wait for a tow. However, if you can't figure the problem out for yourself then it's nice to know that a tow truck can come out to rescue you. Check these things before calling for a tow:
Check the battery
If you go to start the car and it doesn't start, then it can be the battery. If the motor won't turn over all the way and your lights are also going dim, then open the hood and physically look at the battery. Wiggle the connections and make sure they are tight. It they move, then tighten them and try to start the car.
If you see a lot of corrosion on the posts, you might be able to get the car started yourself. If there is a store within walking distance, purchase a small bottle of water and a box of baking soda. Mix a good amount of the baking soda in the water and slowly pour it on the posts. If you aren't near a store then you can try to use a brush or another hard object to carefully chip away the corrosion and then try to start the car.
Check the radiator
If your temperature light is in the danger area, then let your car sit for a good amount of time. You want the engine to cool down all the way before you check the water in the radiator. Once you are sure it has cooled down, open the hood and carefully remove the cap from your radiator. Pour water in so it comes to the top. Allow the water to settle and pour more until no more will go in.
Put the cap back in place and look under the car to make sure the water stayed in the radiator. If it did, start the car and turn the heater on, this will help to keep the engine cooler. Drive home while keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. If it goes up again, pull over and call for the tow truck.
If you aren't able to fix the issue then you will need to call for a tow truck. Make sure you are waiting in a safe location and be aware of your surroundings. If someone approaches you, stay in the locked car for safety reasons. Contact a tow truck business that handles vehicle inspections for more information.