We’ve all seen enough scary movies to know that breaking down in your car is not a good thing! Anytime your car stops working, it can very quickly turn into a dangerous situation for other drivers and yourself. However, don’t panic – we’ve got a checklist to help you deal with the situation.
1. Safety first
The absolute first thing you should do before anything else is to make sure you’re in a safe place. So, before you’ve had time to slap the wheel, curse at the car or even break a sweat, move your vehicle off the road. This means turning off at the next exit, any potential layby or the hard shoulder! Pull into the left as far as possible (watching out for soft verges) and turn the wheels to the left.
2. Turn your hazard lights on
You’ve probably only ever used these to apologise for a slightly mistimed turning, but now it’s time to make best use of them. Turn your hazard lights on as soon as your car is in a safe position.
3. The warning triangle
A warning triangle should only be put up if it’s safe. Do not put up a warning triangle on the motorway. However, if it is safe (i.e. a lower speed zone) you can put up a warning triangle – if it is at least 50 yards behind your vehicle.
4. Get away from the traffic
Once your car is off the road, you should get yourself (and any passengers) away from the traffic. Exit the vehicle and find a spot away from the road, where you can wait for your breakdown cover provider to arrive. It might be difficult for you but try and leave your pet(s) in the car – this is where they are safest.
5. Make yourself obvious
It’s important to make yourself visible to drivers, especially if it’s dark. So, put on a reflective jacket if you have one. If you haven’t got one, then make sure you’re a safe distance from the car and have your phone torch on so drivers can see you.
6. Call an emergency breakdown company
You should contact an emergency breakdown company. Normally, you are assigned one as part of your car insurance, but if you can’t remember, research one and get in touch with them. If you don’t have a mobile phone and you’re on the motorway, you can follow the arrows on sign posts which lead to your closest emergency phone. They are spaced out in mile long intervals and can be identified by an orange SOS signpost.
7. Final words
If for any reason you are unable to get to a safe location, then keep your seatbelt on, put on your hazard lights and use your phone to call the emergency services.
Breaking down is a stressful situation for anybody who’s unfortunate enough to experience it, but it’s important to remember that any breakdown situation can turn dangerous very quickly. You need to follow the correct procedures to make sure that you are safe and that your breakdown service can aid you when they arrive at the scene. Stick to our checklist above and you’re off to a good start.