Stay safe in the event of a breakdown

It can be a scary experience when your car breaks down so it's important you know what to do to stay safe, whatever situation you find yourself in. It can be dangerous too, especially if the break down occurs on a motorway. Once you've called out your breakdown service, make sure you know how to keep safe until they get to you.

Be prepared

Keeping a sensible supply of essential items in the boot of your car would come in handy in a breakdown situation. Such as:

  • A warm waterproof jacket, preferably with reflective strips
  • Blankets, gloves, hats, scarves
  • A first aid kit
  • A red warning triangle
  • Sun cream in the summer
  • Bottled water, sweets or chocolate
  • Anti-freeze and ice scraper
  • A torch
  • A working mobile phone

Motorway breakdown

Ideally, in the event of a breakdown on a motorway you would drive your car to the next available exit and then find a safe place to park up. If this isn't possible, drive onto the hard shoulder and close to the barrier or verge so that you can safely leave your car. Leave your side lights and hazard lights on and make sure everyone gets out safely on the left hand side of the car and go behind the barrier or up onto the verge. It is dangerous to sit inside the car on the side of a motorway.

Call your breakdown service straight away, either from your mobile phone or from one of the emergency phones located by the road. Mobile phone apps that alert your breakdown service to your location are also available. Do not attempt to fix the fault yourself and never attempt to cross the carriageway, no matter how quiet the road might appear.

Minor road breakdown

Attempt to park your car safely at the side of the road. If this isn't possible, park as close to the left of the road as you can and put on your hazard lights. Making sure it is safe to do so, go with your passengers to a safe place at the side of the road. From here, contact your breakdown service and wait for them to arrive. Only attempt to fix the fault yourself if you are sure you aren't putting yourself in danger.

If you're travelling with pets on a motorway or a minor road, keep them inside the vehicle. Otherwise they may endanger themselves or other road users.

If you or a passenger is pregnant or you're travelling with small children make sure you inform your breakdown service of this when you contact them. 


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