5. Breaking down on a smart motorway
If you break down on a smart motorway, the procedure is slightly different. If possible, try to drive to the next emergency refuge area (ERA), which is basically a lay-by at the side of the road for you to safely pull into.
ERAs are found no further than 1.6 miles apart, and they’re marked by a blue sign featuring an orange SOS phone symbol.
As you would in any breakdown, switch your hazard lights on and exit your car via the left-hand door, if it’s safe to do so. Use the phone to contact the regional traffic control centre, and ensure you’re stood outside of the safety barrier while you wait for assistance.
If you’re unable to reach an ERA and the hard shoulder is open to traffic, make your way over to it. Again, switch on your hazards and stop as close to the nearside verge as possible. If it’s safe to do so, leave your vehicle using the left-hand door. If it’s too dangerous to do this, stay in your car with your seatbelt fastened. Call 999, followed by your breakdown provider.
Once the regional traffic control centre is aware of your situation, either from the police or CCTV, they can change the overhead signs to help keep traffic away from you. A traffic officer or the police will also be sent to assist you.