How to stay safe when you’ve broken down

What to do during a car breakdown on the motorway? By Delamere Motors

No one wants to find themselves stranded on the motorway so most of us take certain measures to prevent our vehicles from breaking down over time. Given how stressful finding yourself stranded on a motorway or dual carriageway can be, it’s easy to forget the basics of keeping you and your passengers safe. In this post, Delamere Motors takes a quick look at the recommended safety steps for dealing with the situation.

motorway car breakdown sign

No matter where you find yourself stuck, by following these simple steps you can make sure you’re following the safest procedure whilst waiting for car breakdown recovery.

Where has your car broken down?

The location where your vehicle breaks down is vital in deciding the best and safest course of action.

Find the nearest lay-by

If your vehicle starts behaving strangely and you’re worried you might breakdown, look out for the nearest petrol station, lay-by or lorry park. If you can get to one, you’ll be in a safe location to examine your vehicle and potentially conduct any temporary repairs. You should not attempt to repair your vehicle if you’ve stopped your car by the side of the road.

Pull over to the hard shoulder

If you’re driving down the motorway and your car all of a sudden starts struggling to run or starting to shut down pull your vehicle onto the hard shoulder if you are able to. During a car breakdown, it’s important to get your vehicle to a safe place and out of the way of moving traffic.

Turn your wheels to the left

Once reaching the edge of the carriageway, turn your steering wheel all the way to the left. This is a precaution, to prevent maximum damage, should someone run into the back of your car.

Turn the engine off and your hazards on

Once your vehicle’s engine has been switched off, turn the hazard lights on and ensure that all passengers and yourself exit the vehicle from the left-hand side and wait far away from the carriageway, ideally behind a barrier if there is one available.

Can’t get your car to a safer place?

Reaching the hard shoulder may not always be possible; in the worst case, you may end up with your vehicle stranded on the carriageway itself. If you find yourself stuck in a fast-moving lane, you should put your hazard warning lights on and keep everyone in the vehicle, with their seatbelts on.

Do not attempt to repair your vehicle

When stuck on the side of the motorway you should never try to attempt to repair your vehicle. By trying to examine and repair your vehicle, you will be endangering your own personal safety by putting yourself near fast-moving traffic.

Find a free emergency phone

All along the motorway, there are free telephone boxes dotted along the hard shoulder, you can use these telephones to connect directly to either the police or the Highways Agency. These phones are free to use, so if your phone battery is flat and you don’t have change, you can still call for help.

Breakdown cover?

With the option of purchasing the add-on of roadside breakdown recovery and repair on your yearly car insurance, by calling your company of choice they can come and collect you, towing you away to a safer location before examining and repairing your vehicle.

Many drivers choose to become a member of breakdown recovery companies such as AA and Green Flag. Their technicians are trained in recovering vehicles from dangerous places such as motorways and they’re also nearly always equipped with highly visible warning lights to maximise visibility.

Prepare for the ‘just in case’

You have made it to a safe location and have called for recovery, now all you need to do is wait in safety. Some drivers choose to prepare and stock up in case the day comes they find themselves waiting on the hard shoulder for a recovery van.

Emergency kit

It is recommended to have an emergency safety kit in your vehicle, just as a precaution in case of a car breakdown. You can purchase Hi-Viz jackets and road triangle signs that can help highlight that you’ve broken down, making it more visible to passing drivers.

Regular car servicing

Servicing your vehicle is the best way to prevent any potential breakdown. By getting your car regularly serviced at the required intervals at a garage such as Delamere Motors, you’ll minimise the chances of breaking down. At Delamere, our vehicle technicians are experts in spotting issues before they become major problems and prevent a car breakdown. Not only can this save you a lot of money, it will also help to keep you safe whilst on the roads.

Don’t get caught out

By following this short guide on what you need to do if you find your vehicle breaking down on a busy motorway, you’ll know the best way to stay safe should you end up stranded.

Delamere Motors provides advice, tips and guidance to motorists on their vehicle. We provide MOT tests, car servicing and repairs in the Telford area for any make and model of car. If you’re experiencing a problem with your car or you’re worried you might breakdown, contact us today for advice and help tailored to you.