When your car breaks down unexpectedly, it can be a stressful and potentially dangerous situation. Therefore, knowing how to handle this scenario is crucial for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
To walk you through exactly what you should do if you’ve broken down in your car, below are our top tips:
1. Stay Calm & Find A Safe Place To Stop
The first and most important thing to do when your car breaks down is to stay calm. Panicking can hinder your ability to think clearly and make sound decisions. Therefore, signal your intention to pull over and carefully navigate your vehicle to the side of the road. If possible, try to reach a designated layby or a service area as it’ll be far more safer.
2. Turn On Your Hazard Lights & Use A Warning Triangle
Once you’ve safely pulled over, immediately turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that there is an issue. If you have a warning triangle, place it at a safe distance behind your vehicle, typically at least 45 meters away, to give oncoming traffic ample time to slow down and pass safely.
3. Assess The Situation
Take a moment to assess the situation and identify the possible cause of the breakdown. Are there any strange noises or smells? Did a warning light on the dashboard illuminate before the breakdown? This information can be helpful when seeking assistance.
4. Call For Assistance
In the UK, breakdown cover is essential. If you have car breakdown cover (such as with ourselves), call your provider’s emergency helpline immediately. Provide them with your location, a brief description of the issue, and any other relevant information they may need. If you don’t have breakdown cover, consider calling a local breakdown service or a garage for assistance.
5. Remain Inside The Vehicle
Unless you are in an unsafe location, such as a busy motorway, it’s generally safer to remain inside your vehicle while waiting for assistance. This provides a barrier of protection from passing traffic.
6. Be Mindful Of Your Location
When calling for assistance, provide clear information about your location. If you are on a motorway, provide the number of the nearest emergency phone, which can be found on roadside markers. If you’re on a non-motorway road, note any nearby landmarks or road signs that can help pinpoint your location.
7. Wait For Professional Assistance
While waiting for professional assistance, it’s important to stay patient. Avoid attempting to fix the car yourself if you’re not qualified to do so, as this may cause more harm than good. Trust the expertise of the breakdown service professionals.
Once your car is back on the road, take some time to reflect on the breakdown and consider any preventative measures you can take to avoid a similar situation in the future. Regular vehicle maintenance, such as oil changes and tire checks, can go a long way in preventing breakdowns.