Breakdown Advice for Drivers on Local Roads

It is reassuring to know that if you suffer a vehicle breakdown on any of Britain’s roads your breakdown cover provider will dispatch a rescue patrol to your location, wherever that may be. It matters not whether it is day or night, or whether you’ve broken down on the high street or out back and beyond, help is but a phone call away.

Before the patrol arrives on the scene though it is important to think about your safety and the safety of your passengers and other road users. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.

Safety advice for break downs on ‘non-motorway’ routes

If your vehicle develops a fault the first thing you need to do is find a safe place to stop. Switch on your hazard warning lights and, where possible, drive on to the nearest lay-by or safe parking area. If you’re in a town look to get yourself to a car park or into a parking bay at the side of the road. Wherever you pull over always be mindful of other traffic — if you leave your vehicle just over the brow of a hill, at a junction, or on a corner it is liable to cause an accident.

Depending upon your location you need to make a judgment call as to whether you and your passengers should exit the vehicle. The rule is that if your car is in a dangerous location or if it is located on the side of a fast road, you should get out and stay a safe distance away to prevent injury if the vehicle is struck by passing traffic. Whatever the situation, keep your hazard lights flashing, and if it is dark, leave your sidelights on.

Before calling for roadside assistance think further about other road users. Put on any reflective jackets or clothing that you have so oncoming traffic can clearly see you. Should you have a reflective warning triangle place this on the same side of the road as your vehicle, some 45 metres to the rear. It will help alert oncoming traffic as to the potential hazard ahead. Finally, make sure you and your passengers do not obscure the vehicle’s hazard warning lights, especially if it is dark or the visibility is poor, as drivers coming towards you may not see you and your vehicle before it is too late.

Making the call for breakdown assistance

Before you call your breakdown provider for assistance do make sure that you know where you are. Look out for road information such as road names and numbers, and any obvious landmarks. If you can locate yourself on a map or GPS / satellite navigation system then all the better.

Make the breakdown provider aware of your situation — if you believe yourself to be in a vulnerable or dangerous position then let them know this too. After all, your safety is their priority.

Once assistance arrives you’ll be in good hands — in around 85% of breakdown cases, the roadside patrol is able to fix vehicles attended on the spot.

One final thought: if you’ve used a reflective triangle don’t forget to retrieve it before you continue your journey!