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What to do when you breakdown on the motorway!

According to the Highway Code if you are driving on a motorway and your vehicle develops a problem you should drive off the motorway as soon as you are able to either at the next exit or at a service station.

If you are unable to leave the motorway and your car breaks down you should pull over to the hard shoulder and come to a halt as far to the left as you can. You should make sure that your wheels are turned to the left so that, should your vehicle be shunted from behind, it would tend to steer further away from the motorway rather than onto it.

There are emergency telephones along the hard shoulders of all the motorways in the UK at around one mile intervals  and you should try to stop as close to one as possible. We describe how to use an emergency telephone below.

You should leave the vehicle by the left hand door and make sure that all your passengers do likewise.  You should also remove any animals from the vehicle but you must keep them under proper control on the grass verge.

Even if all your car needs is a simple repair or a tyre changing, don’t attempt to do it yourself as you would be putting yourself in considerable danger.

All your passengers as well as yourself should keep well away from both the motorway and the hard shoulder. Stand well back on the grass verge or embankment if it is at all possible, and ensure that any children are kept under control.

Motorway Breakdown

Motorway Breakdown

Emergency telephone

Once you have taken the above measures to ensure that everyone is safe and that children and animals are under control, you should use the emergency telephone to call for assistance. At the back of the hard shoulder you will find a series of posts on which there are arrows. The arrows point in the direction of the nearest emergency telephone.

Emergency telephones, which usually are coloured orange, are free to use and will connect you directly to the motorway police. You will then be connected to the Highways Agency Regional Control Centre and you will be asked a number of questions.

You will need to inform them of what has happened and the location of your vehicle relative to the phone. The nearest patrol will be sent to you to assist as will the emergency services if they are required. When speaking on the phone always face the traffic and be aware of what is happening on the carriageway so that you can take avoiding action if necessary. When the call is over you should return to a location close to your vehicle and off the hard shoulder.

If you are unable to walk to an emergency telephone you should use a mobile phone if possible, though overall you will get a faster response using the emergency phone.

If you have been involved in a motorway accident then you should use your mobile phone to call for help as quickly as possible. It is more important to focus on safety that it is to worry about any future car insurance claim.

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