Driving on the motorway can be hairy at the best of times but if your car decides to pack it in on the fast lane, there are a few things you should do to ensure you deal with a motorway breakdown as safely as possible.
1. Slow down.
If you feel a change in your car’s performance indicating you may break down, start to decrease your speed, but don’t slam on the brakes as it could cause a collision If you feel a change in your car’s performance indicating you may break down, start to decrease your speed, but don’t slam on the brakes as it could cause a collision. Instead, slowly lift off of the accelerator and use calm, controlled braking to slow down gradually.
2. When to use the hard shoulder
- Do use the hard shoulder if your car literally won’t go any further and you can’t safely drive to a place further off the motorway.
- Don’t use the hard shoulder to stop for any other purpose than an emergency, and that includes toilet breaks, snack breaks or to make a non-breakdown related phone call.
Don’t use the hard shoulder to stop for any other purpose than an emergency
3. Stopping safely on the hard shoulder
- Do indicate you are going to pull over, stopping as far to the left as possible, turn your wheels to the left and put your hazard and sidelights on.
- Don’t park over towards the right hand side of the shoulder, switch off your lights or clamber out via the driver’s side, otherwise you risk being hit by traffic.
4. What to do once safely parked after a motorway breakdown
- Do get out of the car via the driver’s side and ensure your passengers all do the same, whatever the weather.
- Don’t take your seatbelts off, and sit inside the car while you wait for help to arrive. You. Must. All. Leave. The. Car. If for any reason you physically can’t leave the car, then you must have your hazards on.
Find the nearest emergency phone on your side of the road, to call the emergency services or your breakdown service.
5. Once out of the vehicle
- Do get off the hard shoulder and stand on the embankment. Then use your mobile, or find the nearest emergency phone on your side of the road, to call the emergency services or your breakdown service.
- Don’t in any circumstances walk across the motorway to use that tantalisingly-close emergency phone you’ve spotted on the other side, it’s both illegal and highly dangerous.
Of course we hope you don’t ever have to put these tips into practice, but preparation is key to dealing with unexpected events like a motorway breakdown, and you should make sure you have the best emergency service breakdown cover possible under your car insurance policy.
Liberty Insurance reward safe driving and their car insurance policies come with free 24-hour breakdown assist and home start.