Breakdown Advice for Motorway Drivers

Suffering a vehicle breakdown is a frustrating experience. That moment when you realise that your car is about to stop on a busy motorway can have you wishing that you stayed at home! But no matter how you feel you must put your safety and the safety of your passengers and other road users first.

Vehicle Breakdown Advice for Motorways

If your car develops a fault on a motorway your first priority is to get your vehicle to a safe location. If possible, drive the vehicle onto the next motorway exit and stop in a lay-by or other suitable location once you are off the slip road. You can then call your breakdown cover provider for assistance — this is the safest option.

Should you have no choice but to stop on the motorway pull over to the hard shoulder when it is safe to do so and put on your hazard warning lights. If it is dark leave your sidelights on. The vehicle should be placed as far over to the left of the hard shoulder as possible with the front wheels turned to the left.

Once parked the driver and all passengers should exit the vehicle immediately by the left-hand doors only and make their way to a safe position, either up a bank or behind a barrier or bridge. Keep any children under strict supervision, and, if you have animals with you, either leave them in the vehicle or, if you are confident that you can keep them under control, allow them out of the vehicle and take them with you.

On the hard shoulder do not attempt even simple repairs to your vehicle. Instead, call for breakdown assistance. Emergency telephone boxes are placed along the side of the carriageway at intervals of about a mile. These call boxes are free to use and connect directly with the police. Arrows at the back of the hard shoulder will direct you to your nearest call box.

When at the call box, tell the police contact that you have broken down and give them the reference number on the call box. The police will do the rest and will connect you with your car breakdown cover provider.

If you must use a mobile phone to call for breakdown assistance be sure that you can accurately describe your location. Look out for marker posts situated at the back of the hard shoulder. These have reference numbers on them and can be used by vehicle rescue services to pinpoint your position.

After putting the call in return to a safe position away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.

What to do if you cannot get your vehicle to the hard shoulder

In some circumstances, it may not be possible to get your vehicle onto the hard shoulder. When this happens it is important to switch on your hazard warning lights. Exit the vehicle only when it is safe to cross to the hard shoulder and call the police and breakdown services for assistance. Never place any warning objects in the carriageway in front of or behind the vehicle.