How to deal with a breakdown
Breaking down is bad, but not knowing what to do when you break down is even worse.
Breaking down is unexpected; and sometimes scary. Dealing with a breakdown can be a stressful experience, and so it’s vital to remember what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
If your car breaks down, there are a number of things you should do to ensure that you remain safe and calm. The first thing you must do is turn on your hazard lights so that you can warn other drivers and prevent a potential accident. Once you have come to a stop, you should turn off your car to allow it to cool down and rest.
Breaking down on a motorway/major road
If you’re able to move, roll your car using the steering wheel and the car’s momentum into a safe area or the hard shoulder – do not get out and push your car. Once you’re fully stationary and it feels safe to do so, exit your car through the left-hand doors and wait in a nearby safe location. Spend as little time as possible on the hard shoulder, and try and get yourself somewhere away from the traffic. You should never attempt to put out a warning triangle away from the car, nor should you let your pets outside of the vehicle; it is safer for other drivers (and the pets) for them to stay in the car.
Next, call your breakdown recovery provider and notify them of your situation and location. If you don’t know your exact whereabouts, there are blue location signs placed every 500m on all motorways and some major A roads. Also, if you don’t have a mobile, there are emergency telephones located on the hard shoulder; you can follow the arrows on the back of the signposts on the hard shoulder to find the nearest phone.
Breaking down on quiet roads
If possible, move your car to a safe location using the steering wheel and the car’s momentum – in the same way that you would on the motorway. Once your car has come to a stop, exit using the left-hand doors. Only if it is safe enough to do so, place a warning triangle around 50 yards behind your car to warn other drivers who are approaching you. After that, move to a secure area away from oncoming traffic and phone your breakdown recovery provider.
Don’t have breakdown coverage?
If you don’t have breakdown coverage, then you can call a local garage or the local highway agency – both of which have costs. Once you have phoned your recovery, they will come and fix your car either where you’ve broken down, or tow it away to a local garage – as well as driving you to a safe, convenient location. You should never try and fix the problem yourself, unless you are in a safe location and have the knowledge and experience to do so.