Hopefully you’ll never be involved in a car breakdown. Chances are though it’ll happen at least once in your life and breaking down on a dual carriageway or motorway can be a worrying experience. Being prepared and knowing what to do can be really useful. So read on for some handy tips.
1. Get your car off the road: Try and drive your car off the road if possible or pull onto the hard shoulder (if there is one), as far to the left of it as possible. This keeps the road safe and free of obstructions for other motorists.
2. Warn other motorists: Put your hazard warning lights on to warn other motorists that you have broken down. This is especially important if your car is obstructing the roadway but you should also use them if your car is pulled up at the side of a dual carriageway or on the hard shoulder of the motorway. If you carry a hazard warning triangle in your vehicle place this on the road approximately 45 meters behind your car if your car is obstructing the road. Do not do this though if you are on a motorway, even if the road looks clear. Traffic moves too fast and this can be highly dangerous. If you have broken down at dusk or night time put your cars sidelights on if possible to improve its visibility. If you have a high-vis coat or vest put it on. Generally make your car and yourself as visible as possible.
3. Get out of your car: Once you have taken steps to warn other motorists get yourself and any passengers out of your car using the left hand doors and move away from your vehicle to a safe distance. This way if your stationary car is hit by another vehicle you and your passengers will not be harmed. Move up the grass verge into a position where you can see your car.
4. Telephone for help: Call the Police or Highways Agency. If you have broken down on a Motorway you will find emergency telephones in orange boxes at 1 mile intervals. Use these if you have broken down near one as the operator will be able to tell exactly where your car has broken down based on the phone you are calling from. If this isn’t possible and you are calling from a mobile phone you can communicate where you are by telling them the number on the nearest marker post. You will find these at regular intervals along the side of the motorway. This way the police or Highways Agency will be able to pinpoint your position.
5. Be prepared for bad weather: It can be a really good idea to pack some emergency clothing in the boot of your car. A waterproof coat and other warm clothing and a blanket can be extremely usefull if it is cold and wet and you are sitting on a grass bank freezing cold in the pouring rain waiting to be rescued.