Advertorial feature

What to do when your car breaks down on the motorway: five simple tips

 

Unfortunately, motor vehicles are not invincible objects. They can break down in the most awkward of places, and one of the most dangerous locations where a failure can happen is on the motorway.

By following these five simple tips you will ensure that you and your passengers remain safe following a breakdown on the motorway:

Move to the hard shoulder

It’s vital that when you feel an issue with your car that you safely move across to the hard shoulder. Drive as far to the left of the emergency lane as possible and position your wheels to face the grass verge - not to the main carriageway. Then, activate your hazard warning lights, and if it’s dark, turn on your car’s sidelights.

If you are unable to get to the hard shoulder then you should turn on your hazard warning lights as soon as you can in order to alert vehicles behind you. Then call the emergency services for assistance.

Get everyone out

Sitting in a car when there is very fast-moving traffic coming by at close proximity is very dangerous. If you are able to do so you should get yourself and any passengers out of the car. Never leave by the driver’s door in this situation – instead get everybody out of the left-hand side to ensure you are not going to walk into oncoming traffic.

The only exception is for pets - these should be left in the car unless they can be kept securely on a lead to prevent them from running off and causing danger to other road users.

Call for assistance

If you are a member of a breakdown service, this is the time to call them. They will ask you for details of the car, the situation and will also want to know your location. Most will ask you for the number on the nearest location marker to help pinpoint you and alert recovery vehicles in the area. Many breakdown recovery companies give priority to motorway call-outs due to the extra danger the passengers face in this exposed environment, meaning you shouldn’t need to wait too long for somebody to reach you.

If you don’t have breakdown cover then you will need to call the Highways Agency for assistance. You can either do this on your mobile or by using one of the free phones located every mile along the hard shoulder. It’s likely that they will contact a local garage to come and recover your vehicle, which may come at a hefty cost!

Make sure you definitely don’t have breakdown cover – many insurance providers offer this as an add-on to your car insurance policy, so give them a call if you are unsure.

Wait somewhere safe

Wait well-back from the carriageway, preferably up the grass verge on the side of the motorway. You should always wait for assistance to arrive and never attempt to fix your vehicle’s problem yourself, even if you think you know what it is.

If you feel like you are in any danger – perhaps you are a female travelling alone and it is dark, or you have a disability that impairs your movement, contact the emergency services for further advice.

Back on the road

Many vehicles can be fixed at the roadside - whether this be permanently or temporarily to at least get you back home or to your onward destination. If this is the case you need to merge back onto the motorway safely. The best way to do this is to use the hard-shoulder to build up speed to match that of the carriageway traffic, signal your intentions early, check your blind spots and then move back into the main lanes when you have plenty of space to do so.

The Co-operative Insurance offers customers car breakdown cover as an optional add-on to their car insurance policies. Visit the website for more information.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

    £60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

    £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

    AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

    £600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

    E-Commerce Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial