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A guide to breaking downBack

MotorwayBreakdownBreakdowns can occur at any time, but are particularly hazardous in the winter months when the weather is colder.

Below, Trusted Dealers provides a guide on how to handle a breakdown.

Breaking down on a motorway

The most dangerous roads to breakdown on are a motorway or dual carriageway due to the volume of surrounding traffic and the speed which cars are travelling. Pulling over onto the hard shoulder of the motorway is prohibited unless your car suffers mechanical failure. If you breakdown on a motorway, follow the steps below:

  1. Park your car on the hard shoulder as far to the left as possible to leave the maximum amount of space between your car and the busy traffic then activate your hazard warning lights.
  2. If you can’t reach to hard shoulder, you will be in a very vulnerable position and you must proceed with caution. Switch on your hazard warning lights immediately, and only leave your vehicle if you are sure you can get clear of the motorway.
  3. Wear a reflective jacket at all times if you have one. If you have passengers in the car, make sure they exit the car from the left door so they remain as far away from passing traffic as possible. Do not remain in your car, instead find a suitable spot to wait as far away from the road as you can, whilst still remaining visible to a breakdown truck.
  4. Contact your breakdown provider – if you don’t have a mobile proceed with caution to the nearest emergency telephone. These are stationed along every mile of the motorway so you should never be more than 500 metres away from one in either direction.
  5. Wait for roadside assistance to arrive – do not attempt to repair your car yourself. If your car can be repaired at the side of the road, make sure you find a safe gap to re-join the motorway.

Breaking down on a road

Breaking down on a quieter road might mean you are not immediately in as much danger as a motorway but you are still considered a major hazard to other road users and are Breakdown covertherefore in danger. Follow the steps below to keep safe:

  1. Activate your hazard warning lights immediately and put on a reflective jacket if you own one. Leave your side lights on if the weather is dark, foggy or wet so you are as visible as possible to other road users.
  2. If your car is in a vulnerable position on the road and could be hit, it is important for you and any passengers to exit the vehicle as quickly as possible when the road is clear.
  3. Phone your breakdown cover provider and wait for assistance. If your car is made operational again at the side of the road, make sure you re-join the road when there is a safe gap to do so.

Breakdown Cover

It is vital that you obtain breakdown cover for your vehicle to ensure maximum safety in the event of a breakdown. However, if you breakdown without it, there are three options open to you:

  1. Phone a local garage – they will normally charge a call out fee and then there will usually be an additional charge for every mile you are towed so this can work out expensive.
  2. If you breakdown on a motorway, calling a garage or breakdown cover provider for help can be the most expensive option. Instead, if it is safe to do so, you should walk to the nearest emergency phone box and call the highways agency, who will be able to tow your vehicle to a local garage, for a fee. Please note, fees for this service can vary considerably.
  3. Join up to a breakdown cover provider on the spot. You’ll be charged an additional fee for doing so, but it would guarantee you would be attended to like any other customer. This is the cheapest option as you will then have cover provided for the following 12 months.

RACLogoHow to buy breakdown cover

Breakdown cover can be added to most car insurance policies for a minimal amount and it will save you valuable time and money in the event of a breakdown.

One of the easiest ways to purchase breakdown cover is to purchase it at the same time as your car insurance premium, but this may not be the most cost effective way, especially when you may not use many of the benefits which are thrown in and can bump up the cost.

There is a wide selection of breakdown cover options available so it’s advisable to use a comparison website to work out which is the best and cheapest option to suit your lifestyle

Some of the top breakdown companies in the UK such as the AA and the RAC provide their customers with added perks such as the option to join a club which will provide you with regular discounts off hotels and restaurants etcetera.

What does breakdown cover offer

Basic breakdown cover – offers UK roadside assistance and vehicle recovery to policy holders. The breakdown company will tow your vehicle to a garage but this level of cover will not provide roadside assistance. ┬áThis is a good option if you work locally and do very little long distance travel.

Comprehensive cover – if your car is old, and therefore more likely to breakdown, you may wish to consider paying a bit extra. Or, if you do a fair bit of travel throughout the year, it is also a better option. There are different levels of cover to choose from so it’s best to look at the variety of options available to see what suits your lifestyle best.




Posted by Leana Kell on 16/11/2016