When your car breaks down it can be a worrying time, especially if you don’t know what to do and on a Motorway. That’s why we’ve flicked through the UK Highway Code and put together a few bits of advice on what to do to help you to safety.
Stopping On The Hard Shoulder Of The Motorway
At the first sign of a problem with your car when driving, the Highway Code says to leave the motorway at the next exit or pull into the nearest service area. If this is actually not possible, you should pull onto the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as possible, at the same time taking care from any soft verges or gulley’s, and stop with your wheels turned to the left facing away from the traffic.
Why You Should Exit The Car On The Hard Shoulder
Once you’ve pulled over and stopped safely, immediately put your hazard warning lights on. Secondly if it’s dark or the light is failing, you should put your side lights on as well. Exit the car by using the passenger side door only, so that you’re not at risk of oncoming traffic at speed. Finally make sure that everyone in the car does exactly the same, whether using the front or rear passenger doors and that they keep well away from the road and traffic.
If you are unlucky enough to break down on a motorway, move up the verge if it is at all possible quickly. If you have a reflective jacket handy in your car then you should put this on so that it’s easier for others and road users to see you.
Be advised – warning triangles should “never” be used on a motorway – this is because there is a risk in even attempting to put it out. If you are on a road and it’s obviously safe to do so, you can put a warning triangle at least 45m behind your car.
What About Pets In The Car
It’s not considered safe to get your pets out of the car, even though you might want to. The Highway Code advises that they are left in the car, unless of emergency e.g. if the car is smoking or badly damaged. If that’s the case, take them out of the car but make sure they are kept under control, whether on a leash or in a pet carrier and well away from the traffic.
Who Do I Call When I Have An Accident
It is when everyone is safely out of the car and away from moving traffic that you should call for help, even simple car repairs should not be attempted. If you don’t have a phone with you, walk to an emergency phone which will connect you directly to the Highways Agency or Police. These are located at one-mile intervals along the hard shoulder and can be easily identified as bright orange boxes.
When using the phone don’t turn your back to the traffic. You need to be as visible as possible to all other road users. On the call, provide as much information as you can, including location and who you’re travelling with. If you’re travelling alone, are disabled or in the company of children, mention this as it’ll indicate that you’re in a vulnerable situation.
How To Stay Safe On The Hard Should After An Accident
Once you’ve got back to your car, wait at a safe distance away from your vehicle until the help arrives. If you have reason to feel at risk from another person at this time, get into your car from a passenger door and lock all the doors.
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