How to handle a breakdown

How to handle a breakdown

You never know when your car is going to break down and it’s best to know what to do when it does happen.

Instead of fearing the worst, follow our short guide on how to survive when your car breaks down.

Don’t panic!

When you breakdown, you frantically begin to find a refuge spot and try to get out of the way of other traffic. This can then divert your attention, causing you to have an accident with another motorist.

The main thing to do is to treat the situation calmly. Notify other road users by putting on your hazard lights, so they can give you a wide berth to find somewhere safe to park where you can investigate the issue.

Park somewhere safe and visible

Along most UK roads, it’s easy to spot safe areas to park and still remain visible to oncoming traffic. Once your vehicle has come to a complete stop, turn off your engine but keep your hazard lights on.

If you’re on the motorway and in the middle or fast lane, coast your vehicle safely onto the hard shoulder. However, if this is not possible, turn on your hazards but do not get out of the car. In some cases, it could be an idea to ring the police so they can help navigate traffic around you until your vehicle can be moved safely into the refuge area.

Rules of the warning triangle

In the UK, it’s a legal requirement that you have a warning triangle with you on all journeys. Some cars already come with one, but they can also be bought from a wide range of retailers.

When it is safe to do so, place your hazard triangle 45 metres away from your vehicle. If you’re on the motorway, it’s advised not to attempt to put it out for safety reasons.

In poor weather or lighting, it’s recommended to wear a high-visibility jacket to help other drivers see you as they pass.

Contact your breakdown provider

As soon as you can, contact your breakdown provider for assistance. The quicker you do this, the faster help can arrive and (hopefully!) get you back on the road.

If you don’t have breakdown cover, you will find that you will have to pay almost three times the amount it would normally cost. You will be required to become a member with the provider you have contacted if you want to receive help. This can take a long time to process, so we recommend shopping around to get the best deal, instead of going on journeys without it.

Contact friends or family

If you’re expected somewhere but don’t turn up to your destination, friends and family can become worried about your whereabouts.

Once you have confirmation that help is on the way, contact your nearest and dearest about your situation and location to let them know you are safe.