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Breaking down can be quite unnerving, especially if it’s the first time it has ever happened to you, you’re on the motorway or you’re not fully prepared. Unfortunately, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans and as cars are machines, they will occasionally breakdown or need a little TLC just like anything else would.
As it isn’t an everyday experience it is important to know what to do in such an event, which is why we’ve put together a little breakdown of things to be aware of, equipment to remember and rules to keep in mind.
1. Stop in the nearest safe place
Although this is usually easier said than done, stopping in a safe place is one of the best things you can do in the event of a breakdown. Waiting for help often requires a lot of patience, and it will be a much safer wait if you’re not on the side of a motorway!
2. Make contact
Some small breakdowns can be fixed simply, but it is always best to ensure help is on the way. If you don’t have access to a mobile phone or it happens to be out of battery, lock your vehicle and walk to a SOS telephone. Once you have made contact with the recovery services, return to your car and wait in a safe place. Do not get back into the car if you’re on a hard shoulder.
3. Stay visible
Wherever you are, it is important that you stay visible when you are in the middle of a breakdown. Even during the day, some drivers can overlook even the largest of obstacles. Keep your hazard, fog and rear lights on and put a hi-viz jacket on if you have one. You should also carry a warning triangle in the boot of your car – place this a safe distance from the rear of the car to warn oncoming drivers that there is a problem ahead.
4. Work out where you are
If you’re in an area you don’t know well or on a long motorway stretch, one of the first things you’ll need to do is work out where you are in order to give a detailed description to helpers. Luckily it is for this very reason that all UK motorways have blue driver location signs at 1-mile intervals. Emergency phones are also located at regular intervals which will also give details of your location.
Above all, keep your breakdown paperwork in the car at all times so that you can easily gain access to it. Stay calm and refuse help from passers-by on busy stretches of the road in case it puts them in danger too. The best thing you can do is to wait for your rescue vehicle to arrive.