Keeping safe if you break down
Be prepared for the unexpected on the motorway and you’ll soon be on your way
●● THIS week’s tips, from the IAM’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig, advise drivers on how to cope with a breakdown on the motorway...
Ensure the coolant and washer fluids are topped up, the oil level is correct and the tyres are in good working condition – they all help the vehicle maintain the higher speeds usually experienced on motorways.
Keep a high visibility jacket, waterproof clothing and a charged mobile phone in your vehicle – you never know when you will need these.
If your journey is not going as smoothly as expected, stop at the nearest service station or pull over on to the hard shoulder (only in an emergency), parking as far left as possible to avoid slowing down traffic.
Once you have pulled over, switch on your hazard warning lights so other road users are aware that you have stopped.
Use the emergency roadside telephone when you need to call for help. The distance to the nearest phone will be marked on the white posts on the hard shoulder – the operator will know where you are if you use this phone.
Make sure you and any passengers leave your vehicle by the left-hand side.
Stay behind a barrier or up the embankment. If you feel threatened, get back in, lock the doors and call 999 for the police.
“On smart motorways the hard shoulder is used as an extra lane.
“If your car develops a problem on this type of motorway, then leave at the next exit, or pull into a motorway service area.
“So long as you prepare for unexpected breakdowns you can avoid the experience of it becoming too inconvenient and be on your way,” said Neil.