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Take a look below at Trusted Dealers’ guide on what to do if you breakdown on the motorway.
If things start to go wrong, don’t be eager to apply your brakes too quickly if it isn’t necessary to do so. If your engine has stopped you’ll need to try to keep the momentum up for as long as possible until you are on the hard shoulder to prevent fast moving traffic behind having to brake hard. Be prepared that the steering and brakes might be harder to operate without power and always remember to check your mirrors when moving across lanes.
Once you’ve reached the hard shoulder, try to park the car as close to the verge as possible so that it is as far away as possible from moving traffic. Before you get out of your car, make sure the hazard warning lights are on so that drivers can acknowledge that you’re in difficulty and a stationary vehicle. If you breakdown at night, you must also leave your side lights switched on to alert drivers far sooner to your parked car.
Wear reflective clothing
Before you get out of your vehicle, it is important to make sure that cars can see you. In European countries it is a legal requirement for drivers to carry a fluorescent high-visibility vest or jacket in a car, and whilst this isn’t yet the law in the UK, it is still a highly sensible thing to do. If you have a high visibility vest, make sure you wear it any time you are outside the car.
If you have passengers in the car with you, it’s crucial to get them out of the car as quickly and safely as possible and on to the grass verge so that they are a safe distance away from the motorway and more protected from oncoming traffic. Do not under any circumstances stay in your car – if another driver was to accidentally stray off the motorway and hit your car, the consequences could be fatal. Make sure everyone leaves by the left-hand door to keep them away from the flow of traffic.
Don’t try to fix it
Don’t hand around trying to fix the car, even if you know what the problem is, you shouldn’t attempt to even carry our minor repairs on a car whilst it is stationary on a motorway as you will put yourself in danger for far longer than necessary. Instead, call for help and then carry out the repairs once your car has been towed to a safer place.
Phone for help
Most people carry a mobile phone with them on journeys, and it is always a good idea to fully charge your mobile before embarking on any long car journey. Should you find yourself without a phone, Britain’s motorway networks have a system of emergency telephones which are painted orange and can be located at every mile of the motorway. To work out where the nearest one is, look for the white posts that mark out the edge of the hard shoulder. They should have arrows painted on them that will point you in the right direction. When you pick up the phone it will put you straight through to the Highways Agency, who will come out and help.
If your car’s fault is able to be fixed by the emergency breakdown service, take great care when leaving the hard shoulder. Get the car up to speed first, then when you’re up to speed, choose a safe gap, indicate, and pull out into the flow of traffic.