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What to Do When You Break Down

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What to Do When You Break Down

Having to deal with a breakdown is something all drivers dread and hope to avoid, but from time to time all of us will find ourselves falling victim to a faulty engine and subject to the sympathetic looks other drivers give us as they pass us by. However, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom if you know what to do and how to act in the aftermath of a breakdown. Therefore, this month we’ll be looking at the things you need to be doing when you break down.

Get to the Side of the Road, ASAP

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to get to the side of the road out of the way of approaching traffic as quickly as possible, remembering to do so as safely and as far to the left as you can. Braking immediately can put you and other road users in serious danger, so, unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, you should avoid braking in order to maintain your momentum and enable you to reach the side of the road. There may be less power assistance to the steering and braking and you’ll need to be prepared for this eventuality.

If you are driving on a ‘smart motorway’ when you break down, there will be no hard shoulder for you to pull up on per se, but you should still move over to the left of the motorway. If there aren’t any laybys for you to pull into, you should make do with getting as far to the left as you can. ‘Smart motorways’ are constantly monitored, so should you have to pull up in the slow lane, the authorities will close the slow lane to ensure your car doesn’t get hit. Effectively, they create a hard shoulder to accommodate your vehicle.

Moreover, you should not try to fix your car or replace a tyre, even if you know what is wrong and know how to fix it. Your vehicle will need to be moved off of the motorway to somewhere safer before you can commit to addressing the problems plaguing it.

Turn on the Hazard and Parking Lights

You need to make sure that your car can be seen by other road users in order to avoid a collision. The easiest way of making your car visible to others, and to notify them that you are stationary, is to turn on your hazard lights. If it is dark, you may need to turn on your parking lights too to ensure that other drivers can see your vehicle from afar, and are able to spot your car even during the brief time between the flashing hazard lights.

Keep a Visibility Vest in Your Car

Though not a legal requirement in the UK, keeping a high-vis vest in your car in case of a breakdown is a habit motorists up and down the country should be adopting. In the event that you have to exit your car, a high-vis vest will ensure that other road users can spot you sooner and can work to avoid endangering you. Ideally, your high-vis vest will have reflective strips on it in case your breakdown occurs at night.

Leave the Vehicle by the Left Hand Side

You should leave the vehicle by the passenger side and get off of the motorway, heading onto the grass verge. Even if you have carried out all the provisions detailed above to avoid a collision, it is impossible to guarantee that your vehicle will not be hit by another while it is still on the road. Therefore, you and your passengers should evacuate the car as soon as possible, doing so through the doors on the left hand side so as to avoid the flow of traffic.

Stay in a Safe Place and Call for Help

Once you have reached a safe place off of the road, you must stay there unless the situation demands that you move, like if you had to go hunting for an emergency telephone. However, if you have a mobile phone to hand you should remain in this safe place. If you do have to go looking for an emergency phone along the side of the motorway, stay as far away as you can from the carriageway and be sure to head towards the nearest one. The emergency phone will put you through to the Highways Agency, who will not charge you for the call. Nevertheless, in an ideal situation you will have taken out breakdown cover beforehand, and this can help immensely when your vehicle suffers a catastrophic fault.

In the event that your car cannot be repaired at the side of the road, your car will likely be towed back to either the nearest, safest place or to your hometown. At times like these, it pays to know who you can rely on to fix your car for you, and that’s where Munster Tyres comes in.


Munster Tyres and Servicing have been a leading provider of tyres, car servicing and car repairs to the Fulham and North London areas for 40 years. Our team of experienced professionals are experts when it comes to caring for your car’s bodywork and getting your car back in full working condition. For more information about booking your car in for a service or repairs, contact our friendly team today.

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