Breaking down, whether you’re on the motorway or on the street, can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to know what to do when it happens.
Before You Set Off
Make sure that you have breakdown cover. If you’re going abroad, make sure that your cover extends to the country you’re visiting. Have all the relevant information handy, such as the number for your provider and your policy certificate. Put the number in your phone.
Look after your car. The better maintained your car is, the better it will perform.
Have a reflective jacket and a waterproof in your car, and in the winter, have a rug and some emergency food in the car too.
If You Break Down
If you’re on the motorway and your vehicle develops a problem that you’re concerned about, then you should leave the motorway at the nearest available exit or stop at the nearest service area. If you can’t, then you should pull on to the hard shoulder, ideally next to an emergency telephone.
You shouldn’t use the hard shoulder for using the toilet, using a mobile phone or to check a route or a map.
Once on the Hard Shoulder
Try to leave your vehicle as far to the left as possible and leave by the left hand door. Leave your sidelights on.
The Highway Code recommends that you leave any animals in the vehicle, or if you are confident that you can keep the animal under control, on the verge. Children should be kept well away from the carriageway.
Head to the nearest emergency telephone, following the arrows on the posts. The telephone is free to use and connects directly to the Highways Agency or the Police. Give as much detail as you can, letting them know whether you’re vulnerable, such as disabled or travelling alone.
Call your breakdown cover provider after you’ve talked to the Highways Agency.
Return to your vehicle, away from the hard shoulder on the verge. If you feel vulnerable, then get back in your vehicle and lock all your doors. You should leave your vehicle when you’re happy that the danger has passed.
Don’t try to fix the problem yourself.
If you are disabled and unable to leave the vehicle, then stay in the vehicle, seatbelt on, with hazard warning lights on.
Returning to the Carriageway
Build up speed on the hard shoulder before rejoining the motorway.
On Other Roads
When you realise that you have a problem, find a safe place away from traffic to park your car. Use your red warning triangle to warn any oncoming traffic about your stationary car. Call for assistance and then sit in your car and wait, assuming that your car is safely parked.