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  • Claire Vorster

Motorway Breakdown? What NOT To Do

A motorway breakdown can be any combination of dangerous, frustrating and expensive. If you are stuck on the edge of a road with 70 mph traffic roaring perilously close, it can be tempting to panic. Don’t.

Best tip ever is to plan ahead, so check your insurance and get clued up. Knowing what not to do in a breakdown could help save precious time and money, it could also save lives. Here are our top tips to help you stay ahead.

1. Don’t panic

You are the best person to make decisions about everyone’s safety, so analyse your situation quickly. Get your vehicle off the road if possible -

“It’s vital that when you feel an issue with your car that you safely move across to the hard shoulder. Drive as far to the left of the emergency lane as possible and position your wheels to face the grass verge - not to the main carriageway.” 9 January 2015,

2. Don’t be hard to see

When pulling over to a safe place to stop, use your hazard lights and sidelights to warn other drivers -

“If visibility is seriously reduced, (generally when you can't see for more than 100 metres), you should also use the rear fog lights.”

3. Don’t exit traffic side

When moving your car to a safe place, leave room to get everyone out by the doors furthest away from the traffic. Get out of the vehicle safely and make sure that other passengers do the same.

4. Don’t stand near the motorway

Once are out of the car, keep away from the flow of traffic and the hard shoulder. Ensure you and your passengers stand or sit well back from the road, behind a barrier or on a grass verge if possible. Be extra careful to keep children protected and under control.

“If for any reason you can't get out of the vehicle, get as many people as possible to sit on the passenger side of the vehicle and put their seatbelts on. However if you can wait away from the vehicle then you should do so.”

5. Don’t move your animals

If possible, pets should be left in the vehicle. The hard shoulder is a frightening, noisy place, particularly for any animal. If spooked they could easily run onto the road. Please leave them in the car. If this is not possible, you must make sure your pet is under proper control and kept as far away from the motorway as possible – ideally behind a barrier or high up on the verge.

You can find further advice on how to stay safe in the event of a breakdown and other safety tips at

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