Vehicle Breakdown Tips and Information
If and when you do breakdown it’s best to have some knowledge on staying safe at the side of the road. Whether you know the basics of how to stay safe whilst you’re broken down, or you have a comprehensive understanding of how to fix your vehicle, we hope to increase your knowledge in some way.
What should you do in the event of a breakdown?
Broken down on a motorway?
- Ideally you should leave the motorway at the next junction, or exit onto a motorway service area. However, this is not always possible, so in the event that you have to stop immediately, indicate and pull over safely onto the hard shoulder. Make sure you park your vehicle as far left as possible, with the wheels turned to the left. Try to stop as close to an emergency roadside telephone, which are approximately a mile apart on the motorway.
- Before you get out of the vehicle, engage the handbrake and turn your hazard warning and sidelights on. In very poor visibility you should also put on your rear fog lights.
- Make sure that you and your passengers leave the car from the near side doors, and stand as far back from the road as possible. (Up on the bank or behind a safety barrier if possible.) Leave any animals in the vehicle.
- DO NOT attempt to make any repairs, no matter how simple you deem them to be. This can be highly dangerous and could result in an accident.
- Instead walk to the nearest emergency roadside telephone. A blue and white marker post is placed every 100m along the hard shoulder with an arrow indicating which way the nearest telephone is situated. Remember to walk as far away from the traffic as possible.
- If at anytime you should feel threatened by another person, return to your vehicle from the near side doors and lock all doors. Once you feel the danger has passed leave your vehicle again.
- If you are calling for recovery from a mobile telephone, then you should try and locate your exact location on the road.
- Wait for the recovery service to arrive. This is normally between a 40 and 60 minute wait
I am in a ‘Free Recovery Area’
If you do breakdown in a free recovery zone then you will need to use the sos telephone box to call for free assistance. Marker posts along the motorway will let you know the direction of the nearest sos telephone box. You should be aware that a free recovery vehicle will only take you out of the free recovery zone and then you will have to phone for your own breakdown recovery
How do I know where I am?
If you breakdown on a motorway, then you need to give a detailed description of your location. As many of the motorways look very similar this can sometimes be tricky to do, especially if you are lost and have no idea of your location.
Luckily there are sign posts all along the motorway, (roughly 1 mile apart) which give information on which road you are travelling on, which direction you are travelling in, and how far you are from the start of the motorway.
Broken down on other roads?
If you breakdown on any other roads, which are not motorways then it may be a bit safer to check your car yourself and judge whether you need a recovery truck. Follow these simple steps to ensure you and your passenger stay safe at the side of the road.
- Pull over and put your hazard lights on. If your vehicle is causing an obstruction, try and remove it from the road as quickly as possible.
- Carry a reflective jacket in the car, and put it on.
- If your vehicle is in danger of being struck by another then get out of the car with all passengers.
- If it is safe for you to repair the damage then you will need to place a warning triangle on the road at least 50 yards behind your broken down car. (N.B. Remember to retrieve it once you have fixed the car)
- DO NOT stand between your vehicle and oncoming traffic.