Time moves differently on the roads. In one moment, you can happily be on track to getting to your destination before bam! You’re trundling to a halt at the side of the M6. Panic can often set in, and you forget even the basics.
Whether you’ve got the best roadside recovery, some insider motoring knowledge or have no idea about what lies under your hood; even the calmest drivers can begin to panic.
Don’t worry, though. Here are a few simple tips to remember if your car breaks down:
Regardless of where you have broken down, moving your vehicle to the safest off road spot should be a top priority. So long as it is safe to do so.
Motorways can be one of the most dangerous places to stop. The hard shoulders are designed for emergency use only, and in some cases, your broken down vehicle doesn’t count. But if you can’t turn off at the next exit, pulling up on the hard shoulder is your only option. So use it.
Ensure you stop as far to the left as you can, with the wheels turned to the left. It’s worth remembering that many of the UKs roads are lined with soft verges!
Turn your hazards on
Visibility is critical wherever you break down. One of the best tools you have readily available is your hazard lights. They instantly warn other drivers that there is a problem. And that they should avoid driving near the light source, i.e. you!
If you have broken down in the middle of nowhere, it’s foggy, or there is little light, keep your sidelights on for extra precaution.
It may have never crossed your mind to back hi-vis gear into your car. But having a reflective jacket to hand will make you stand out. Just like your hazard lights, any reflective, bright clothing you can wear will ensure your safety further.
Don’t forget the traffic around you
Roads are built for cars, so it’s likely that one will pass you by at some point. Bearing all this in mind, one of the safest things you can do is to get out of your car on the side facing away from traffic. If there is a side barrier nearby, wait behind it until help arrives. Or high up on the bank if you have broken down on a motorway.
With all the moving traffic, we’d recommend you leave any animals in the car as long as it is safe to do so.
Only use a warning triangle on safer roads
Yes, a warning triangle is there to let passerby’s know you have broken down. But if you are on a fast motorway, putting one out on the road is not only incredibly risky, but you are potentially becoming a hazard too.
Warning triangles are better used on quieter roads, where the risk of you getting knocked over is minimal. It’s recommended you place your triangle at least 45m or 50 yards behind your vehicle.
Call roadside recovery
Now that you are safe, get in touch with your roadside recovery assistance company or any friends and family that may be able to help.
Bear in mind, that even a simple repair on the motorway will be breaking highway laws. So ensure you wait for assistance, or have your vehicle towed to a local garage before any repairs are made.
In the unlikely event you don’t have a mobile or there’s no signal, you can walk alongside your side of the carriageway to the nearest emergency phone. There you can contact the police directly without charge.
Next steps to consider
Nothing lasts forever. After a potentially large garage bill, time and maybe even resources spent on getting your car fixed, it might be the kick you needed to think about getting another car.
Whether you want a quick fix at your local secondhand car garage or want to consider a new vehicle, there’s plenty of choice available with a few clicks.
If finances are scarce or you simply want to get your hands on the newest and safest cars on the market, then going down the financing route may be your best option. You may even get your loan approved on the spot. What’s more, be driving away in your new set of wheels before the day’s end.
Whether it’s your first time breaking down or you fancy yourself a seasoned pro, being prepared for every driving situation will ensure your safety on the roads.