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  • Emma Hallett

Dealing with breakdowns

What do you if your car breaks down? Well a lot of it depends on where you are but there are some general rules to follow.

  • Get your car off the carriageway if possible and turn on your hazard warning lights if you are causing an obstruction. If it is night time or poor visibility also turn on your side lights. If you are on a dual carriageway attempt to get to an exit or layby if possible. If you are on a motorway attempt to get to an exit or service area, if this is not possible pull into the hard shoulder.

  • Do not attempt to repair your car unless it is safe to do so and you have the necessary skills. Never attempt even simple repairs on a motorway.

  • If you have breakdown cover (e.g. with AA, RAC etc) then contact them with your location, they can take up to a couple of hours to get to you if you are in a remote location or they are very busy. If you are a lone female or you have children with you let them know as they will prioritise you. If you do not have breakdown cover you will need to contact a local garage or someone you know to help you repair or tow the car.

  • If you have broken down on a dual carriageway or motorway use the SOS phones at the side of the road to get assistance. On a motorway these phones are approximately every mile. If you deem it is not safe to walk to the nearest phone, call using your mobile phone but you will need to be prepared to give a precise location.

  • You should not wait in your car unless concerned for your personal safety. Stand away from the car wearing light coloured or fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility. Do not stand in a position that blocks the view of your lights by other road users or between your car and oncoming traffic.

  • If you have a warning triangle this should be placed at least 45 metres (11 car lengths) behind your car on the same side of the road. Take care when placing and retrieving the triangle and never use them on motorways.

  • Remember it is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone unless suitably parked with the engine off and key removed so ensure you have positioned the car before you call for assistance.

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