Having your breakdown can ruin your whole day, it can not only be costly but also dangerous. Whether you have broken-down before or you’ve never experienced it, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re prepared and that you know what to do. One of the most important things to be aware of is your safety, it should be your number one priority.
Below are some tips on what you should do if you ever experience a breakdown on a variety of roads:
Breaking Down On A Motorway
If you break down anywhere there are a few things that you need to think about:
- You should move your vehicle off the road or pull onto a hard shoulder.
- Put your hazard lights on, if it’s foggy you need to also put on your sidelights.
- If you have one, wear a reflective jacket.
- Make sure everyone gets out of the vehicle and stands away from the road.
- Animals should stay in the car as they are at more risk on the side of the road.
- Make sure you are clear of any moving traffic at all times.
- If you’re unable to get out of the car, make sure you keep your seatbelt on, have the hazard lights on and call your breakdown service.
If you’re on the motorway when you break down you also need to:
- If possible keep moving until you are safe and off the road.
- Move to the hard shoulder and position your wheels so they’re facing the verge.
- If you’re unable to get to the hard shoulder make sure you turn on your hazard lights at the first sign of trouble.
- Call the emergency services before you call your breakdown provider.
- Make sure you have breakdown cover resources available to call.
- Give your location, and explain what happened, and what situation you are in.
- Do not attempt any repairs yourself when on the motorway.
- Try to leave your car through the opposite side to the road even if it means climbing over.
- If it isn’t safe to stay on the side of the road, make sure you leave your seatbelt on.
- Move behind any crash barriers.
- If you haven’t got a mobile with you, you will need to walk to the emergency phones that are dotted along the road.
- You shouldn’t attempt to put out a warning triangle when on the motor, the traffic is moving too quickly and it’s dangerous.
If your breakdown service manages to fix your car on the roadside, you will need to take precaution when merging back in with the road. Signal early and double-check your blind spots. Take extra care with the other cars that may be parked on the hard shoulder.
Breaking Down On A Motorway With No Hard Shoulder
Some motorways are different and they don’t have a hard shoulder. If you break down in these circumstances you should:
- You should try to stop at an emergency rescue area or motorway service. If you can leave at the next junction.
- If these aren’t possible you should try to get the vehicle off the carriageway.
- Put your hazard lights on, get out of the car on the opposite side to the road and wait behind the barrier.
- The authorities will be able to see that your car has stopped, they will then close that lane so your car isn’t at risk of been hit. If you’re in a lane that isn’t next to the barriers make sure you stay in your car with your seatbelt on.
Breaking Down On Minor Roads
If you break down on a minor road it’s quite as dangerous as motorway however, you still need to make sure you take steps to keep you safe.
- If the road is busy, try to move into a side street instead.
- Put your hazard lights on.
- If it’s dark keep your sidelights on.
- Wear a reflective jacket, place out a warning triangle around 50 yeards behind your car, it will warn other drivers that you are on the road.
- If you think that your may be at risk of being hit by other vehicles make sure you and the passengers get out.
- Call your breakdown cover.
What If You Don’t Have A Breakdown Policy?
If you don’t have breakdown cover it can cause a little bit of panic you do experience a breakdown. But there are still a few things that you can do, let’s have a look:
- Call A Local Garage – a garage will usually charge a call-out fee, normally based on each mile they have to drive to fetch you. If you’re in an unfamiliar location this option can work out quite expensive.
- Join A Provider Of Breakdown – Did you know that you can join a breakdown service on the spot if you call them? This means you can still be looked after as if you were already a customer. It does come with an additional fee but it could be the cheapest option, you’ll also then be covered for the following twelve months.
- Call the Highways Agency- You can call the highways agency if you breakdown by using the emergency phones, they will tow you to a local garage, but you are looking at a rather hefty price.
The best option is always going to be having breakdown cover in place in the first instance, some insurance companies will include it in your policy but you need to make sure you consider getting it put in place if it’s not.
Always Make Sure You Prepare For Long Journeys
If your planning on taking a long journey, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re prepared. Carry out some basic maintenance and routine checks to help minimise the risk of breaking down. Make sure you check your water levels, your oil levels, tyre treas and pressure. It’s also a good idea to include a few items in your car:
- Your breakdown details.
- A charge mobile phone or charging cable.
- A reflective jacket.
- First aid kit.
- A warning triangle.
- Snacks ‘Water.
- A shovel or deicer for the winter.
- Toys or books to entertain children.
Although breakdowns may be unavoidable at times if you know what you have to do, you should be able to deal with it safely. Do you have any other tips you could share in the comments below?