RAC Cars News


Having A Breakdown

By raccars Published

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There's never a good time for your car to breakdown, but doing it on the motorway must be one of the worst, most inconvenient and most dangerous ways to breakdown. Make sure you handle the situation calmly and sensibly rather than running around like a headless chicken in a blind panic, by following these steps. The first move is obviously to call for assistance, but also keep the following in mind:

1. Move your car out of the way.

If you are moving when you realise something has broken, don't automatically slam on the brakes. You need to get to the side of the road for your safety and that of other road users and your car's momentum can help to get you there, although you'll probably find your brakes and steering less responsive than usual if there's no power going to them. Don't forget to use your mirrors and check for cars coming up on the inside before you try to move to the hard shoulder. Once there, stay as far away from the edge of the road as possible, hugging the verge.

2. Visibility

Obviously you must apply your hazard lights so that other cars are aware there is a problem, but if you breakdown in the dark, you should also leave your sidelights on to make yourself more visible to cars coming up from behind.

As well as your car, you need to make sure you are visible - carrying a high-vis jacket is not a legal requirement in the UK but is, nonetheless, a good idea. If you need to get out of your car while it is stopped on the hard shoulder, put your vest on first.

3. Remove your passengers

If you have passengers in the car, get them out - using the left hand doors only - and have them wait on the grass verge, or at least a good distance away from the road. Should another car collide with yours while you are parked on the hard shoulder, passengers would be in enormous danger. Pets should be left in the car if there is any risk that they could wander while outside the vehicle.

4. Don't try any amateur mechanics

Even if the problem is something you know you can fix, the hard shoulder is not the place to do it. Call for assistance. The aim is to remove any humans and vehicles from the hard shoulder as quickly as possible, so even minor issues, such as flat tyres, should be left until the car is in a safer location.

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