break downIt's all good and well looking
after your car; keeping it serviced and MOT'd and ensuring that it's
always ready for summer/winter driving or for any long journey. Even
if you've got the most comprehensive breakdown cover on the market.
What do you do if you actually break down?
down on a motorwayBreaking down on a
motorway can be quite scary, and dangerous. The most important point
to note is, where possible find a safer place to stop, only stop on
the hard shoulder if you don't have a choice, and only if it's an
emergency. Do not use the hard shoulder for toilet breaks, map
reading or to use your phone, not only is this dangerous but you
could be prosecuted for misappropriate use of the hard shoulder. If
your car breaks down on a motorway, follow these simple rules;
- Pull onto the hard shoulder,
steer your car as far to the left hand side of the lane as is
possible. When you stop, leave your front wheels pointing left.
Turn on your side lights and your hazard lights. If you cannot
make it to the hard shoulder dial 999 and ask for police
assistance, then call your car breakdown provider. Do not place
any reflective devices on the carriageway. Only leave your
vehicle when you are clear of the carriageway.
- Leave your vehicle by the left
hand door, and ensure all other occupants do the same. Leave any
animals in the car unless you're able to properly restrain them
by the roadside, and wear something reflective. Do not place any
reflective devices on the carriageway (i.e. a triangle).
- Ensure that everyone stays away
from the road, under no circumstances should you ever try to
cross a motorway. Move everyone a safe distance from the
vehicle, either behind the barrier or up the embankment is best.
Ensure children and animals are kept under control. Do not
attempt to repair your car, no matter how minor the problem is.
- Once you are a safe distance from
the vehicle call for assistance (see telephone numbers below),
be prepared to provide accurate details of your location so that
you can be found easily. Roadside location signs, markers, or
telephones have identification numbers on them. If you do not
have a mobile phone, use an SOS roadside phone, these calls are
free and are routed to the police/highways agency and your
location will be easily identifiable from the telephone that you
are using. If you do not have a car breakdown policy, see
relevant section below.
- If you feel you may be at risk
from another person, return to your vehicle (entering via the
left side door) and lock your doors until the potential danger
- When re-joining the carriageway
accelerate slowly until your speed matches that of traffic
already on the carriageway, before pulling off the hard
shoulder. Also be aware of other stationary traffic on the hard
shoulder in front of you.
What if your car
breaks down on another road?
While on any other road your actions
may be a bit different to those you would take on a motorway. Follow
these easy steps;
- If possible remove your vehicle
from the road, if you are unable to do this warn other vehicles
that you are there by turning on your hazard lights. Leave your
side lights on if it is dark or if visibility is poor.
- If you are at all concerned that
your vehicle is at risk of being hit by other traffic, make all
passengers get out of your car and move a safe distance away.
Ensure that anyone outside of the car, are standing well clear
of the road and other traffic (if it is dark or there is poor
visibility, ensure there is nothing obstructing your lights from
the view of other traffic - this includes people standing in
front of them).
- If you have a reflective triangle
(or any other permitted warning device) place this approximately
45 meters behind your vehicle, on the same side of the road.
Only do this if it is absolutely safe to do so.
- Decide if it safe to conduct any
required repair work, but only do so if it is safe. If it is not
- Use your mobile phone to call for
assistance (see telephone numbers below).
- Once your ready to get mobile
again, remember to remove any warning devices (such as a warning
triangle) which you had previously positioned in the road.
What do I do if I
have breakdown cover
The answer is simple, call them on
the relevant number, and they will come and assist you as per
your policy terms.
What do I do if I don't
have breakdown cover?
If your car breaks down and do not have
breakdown cover, you have the following options;
- Call a breakdown provider and
request instant cover. You will pay a premium on top of the
regular yearly fee which will generally be in the region of an
extra £65 - £100. The provider will generally request you to
pay this in full before they will come and offer assistance, you
do not have the option to pay monthly.
- You can call the police for
assistance. They will recover your vehicle from the motorway to
a safe place, but you can expect to pay at least £100 for this.
They will only take you to a safe place, so may still have to
pay more to have your vehicle recovered to a location which is
convenient to yourself.
- Call a local mechanic if you have
a telephone number for one. There will usually be a call out fee
of £50 plus a rate per mile towed which will be somewhere in
the region of £1.25 - £1.75 per mile.
As you can see, it's much better to
be prepared and take out an annual car breakdown policy rather than
to have your day completely ruined at the last moment, not to
mention all the hassle involved if you are not covered. Considering
how cheap basic breakdown cover actually is, it makes so much sense
to cover yourself rather than being a risker. We have a comprehensive
car breakdown cover comparison tool which will assist you in
choosing the most suitable breakdown plan - don't leave it to
chance, this can be really expensive.