I Broke Down On The Motorway. What Now?
Just about every driver we know has a breakdown story. It’s embarrassing, expensive and it ruins your whole day. Whether you’ve put the wrong fuel in the car or it has simply overheated, it’s frustrating. You feel the engine slowly die and there’s panic as you realise that you have no control at all.
However, when it all happens, forget frustration, you’ve got to get your head in the game. Your first concern is your safety and the safety of others. Most breakdowns happen on the motorway. If you’ve found yourself stranded here, this is what you do.
Get off the road – On a motorway, cars all around you are travelling at 70 mph and faster. If you are hit by one, there will be a serious risk of a pileup. The first thing you must do is get to the side of the road. Use what little momentum is left in the car to pull over to the side immediately. Flow into the hard shoulder and get as far over to the side as possible. Then turn your front wheels away from the road. If you’re unfortunate enough to be stranded in one of the lanes, put your hazard lights on and get away from the car.
Visibility – The visibility of you and your car is vital. Oncoming traffic needs to be able to see you and your vehicle. Hazard lights are the first way to do that, switch them on straight away. Oncoming traffic can see them from afar and can take safe, evasive action from up ahead. Another important aspect is you and your family. Keep reflective jackets in the car and use them in the case of a breakdown.
Call for help – Once your car is safely out of the way and visible, it’s time to alert the authorities. If you’re vehicle still poses a danger (ie. it’s in the middle of the road), call the police. They can be on the scene and create a diversion around the incident. Then call your breakdown cover service. If you don’t have one, you can sign up over the phone. They’ll soon be there to help you get back on the road. If there’s nothing they can do, then the only option left may be heavy duty towing back to the garage.
Don’t repair yourself – We’re big advocates of doing your own car maintenance. However, now is not the time. When you’re on the side of the motorway, only experts should be inspecting your vehicle. Doing so yourself puts other drivers in danger. Simply let the professionals deal with it.
What if it’s a minor accident? – Sometimes, a breakdown can be the result of a minor collision between you and another driver. Even with the safest cars, minor incidents can cause injuries. The first thing to do is check that everyone’s okay, then call the ambulance. All accidents must be reported immediately, even if no-one’s hurt. Write down every detail of the event. The time, the date, the weather and the names of everyone involved. If you have time, make a quick sketch of the incident. It will help you down the line when your head is foggy.
There you have it folks! That’s how you deal with the embarrassing and frustrating event of a breakdown. It happens to the best of us, just make sure you know how to handle it safely!