Breaking down is inconvenient, potentially dangerous and expensive. It’s the last thing you need to happen on a cold winter trip, but breakdowns do still happen. They’re also more likely to occur in winter – so what should you do if you do break down? Below are our top tips for dealing with a break down!
When you begin having difficulties: pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. On motorways, try and drive your car off the motorway, but if this is not possible, pull as far over to the left on the hard shoulder as possible and turn your wheels to the left. On other roads, try and get your car off the road, if you can’t, pull as far over to the left as possible.
Let other road users know you are having difficulties: put your hazard lights on, and when you have pulled over, apply your side lights. On motorways, you should not attempt to put a warning triangle out. On other roads, place a warning triangle 45 meters behind your car on the same side of the road, if it is safe to do so.
Exit the vehicle from the left: On motorways it is extremely dangerous to exit on the side of the car nearest to the carriageway.
Take your children out of the car, but leave any pets in the car unless they are in danger - excited or scared pets on a motorway can be an extreme hazard to themselves and other road users. Even if you have to climb over or find it difficult to get the children out of the car, it is vital you do so from passenger side.
On other roads, exit your car if you have any fear it may be hit by other vehicles. You may exit your car normally if you are off the road, or it is safe to do so.
Keep the warm and waterproof clothing available, you may have a wait before the breakdown service arrives.
Staying safe: Move away from your vehicle, and if you’re on the motorway stand behind the barrier. Put your hi visibility jacket on and ensure your passengers wear theirs too. Do not stand between oncoming traffic and your vehicle.
If you are on the motorway do not attempt roadside repairs.
On other roads, only make repairs if it is safe to do so.
Phone for help: Use your mobile to call your breakdown cover provider. If you don't have breakdown cover, most providers will provide cover on the spot (for an additional fee). There are also breakdown companies who will collect on a one off basis, however this normally works out to be very expensive.
If you’re on the motorway, look out for the driver location sign which will help you pinpoint your location to the operator.