31st July 2018
If your vehicle breaks down the most important thing is ensuring that you and your passengers remain safe, especially if you are on a busy road as this can be highly dangerous. Make sure you know what you should do if you find yourself in this situation with our helpful guide.
Whilst you can’t always avoid a breakdown situation, having your car serviced regularly can help to prevent this from happening. A car service provides an opportunity for a trained mechanic to spot and fix any issues before they become hazardous.
It is also a good idea to always keep an in-car phone charger, warning triangle, a torch and a bottle of water in your car. These items may come in handy if you do suffer a breakdown at the side of the road.
If you notice any warning signs such as unusual vibrations, smoke coming from the engine or any of the warning lights illuminating on your dashboard you should slow down and find somewhere safe to pull over and stop as soon as possible.
If you are driving on the motorway you should try to get to an exit or service station. However, if necessary you can pull over on to the hard shoulder. Being on the hard shoulder is extremely dangerous so make sure you pull over as far left as possible, evacuating your passengers through the passenger door and standing a far distance behind the safety barrier.
It is important that other road users are aware of your situation so you should switch your hazard warning lights on when slowing down and leave them on after you have left your vehicle. Wearing reflective jackets will increase your visibility and on quieter roads you should set up your warning triangle at least 45 metres behind your vehicle – do not do this on motorways or fast-moving roads as it is not safe.
Do not try to attempt any repairs yourself, especially if you are on the hard shoulder. If your car is posing an obstruction to other road users or could be struck by another vehicle, you should inform the police. You should then call a breakdown provider for assistance and wait safely away from the road. If you have any pets in your vehicle, it is recommended that they are left in the car with the windows open enough for ventilation but not open enough for the animals to escape.