We’re pretty sure the term Roadside Assistance is used in the UK, but of course the Americans who normally do things bigger than anyone else sometimes also offer this insurance as a roadside assistance policy and often have a generic name like a car club.
But even though on paper the services look like roadside assistance operations here in the UK, in reality the service could be in a league of its own. Enemy, for example, anyone experienced driving the huge highways in the US will immediately see the difference in vehicle size compared to here in the UK.
It’s not uncommon to see a large RV pulling a small car behind it. In the UK, this vehicle size would be the equivalent of a goods trailer, which would require a heavy goods driving license to drive. This size difference means training in assisting vehicles of this size and also the mechanical strength to recover vehicles of this size in the form of a low loader and possibly heavy lifting equipment.
The difference in landscape and distance between some cities can also be a huge challenge. It’s fair to say that it’s unlikely to see that many RVs touring downtown New York, but if you’re going to other states with huge distances from civilization and long straight open roads, you’re more likely to find the larger vehicles. Campers or recreational vehicles were very popular until recently. Compared to the four by four vehicles we have here in the UK, they are much much larger and would struggle to be pulled by the van that a typical roadside assistance company can send here in the UK.
In the UK we’re talking about a salvage service that will return your vehicle anywhere on the mainland, but in the US these distances can be huge, so premiums like this aren’t as cheap as they are in the UK, if you can get them at all. Even with many domestic flights, many Americans take long road trips, so it’s not unheard of to recover a vehicle from one side of the country to the other.
So very often the roadside assistance clubs only operate from state to state, using garages in that particular area, which would cover most of the daily commute and annual mileage. Sometimes the term used is car warranty, which covers not only the emergency breakdown of a vehicle, but also the parts of the vehicle. These functions are usually segregated in the UK, with roadside assistance companies dealing with the restoration of the vehicle and registered car dealers handling the mechanical replacement of major parts.
It should also be said that cars in certain states of the US are also expected to cover more miles than in the UK. With the exception of rural life, most UK residents have access to public transport for shopping, taking children to school etc. The modern city or residential area in the United States needs a car rather than a luxury convenience .