If you are planning on a long trip for a holiday or are just travelling long distances for commuting it is wise to have a car breakdown strategy so you are always covered for the worst. Unexpected car failure can have a very stressful effect on a person if you are not prepared.
What to do before you set off
Sign up to a breakdown recovery service
You will have to pay for this on a monthly basis, even if you are not driving. Make sure it covers to where you are travelling. Some people may find this is an extra expense which they don’t feel they need because they don’t drive enough. In this scenario we recommend you find a local break down recovery service that is available to help you 24 hours. Make sure they can cover your area. We recommend Topautorecovery.co.uk.
Maintain your car well
The better you maintain your car the better your chances of not breaking down. Make sure you top up all your vehicle fluids. It is crucial your windscreen wiper fluid is topped up as well as the coolant fluid and oil. Make sure to also check your tyre pressure.
Take a road map with you
Even if you have a sat nav. You cannot guarantee you will always have a signal on your phone and if your battery dies and you get lost somewhere at least you can explain to someone where you are.
Charge your phone
Make sure it is fully charged, keep a spare battery with you as well investing in an in-car charger.
It is highly recommended to keep a reflective jacket in the car as well as a waterproof raincoat. If you are standing on the road, especially a motorway you want to make sure other drivers can see you. A raincoat stops you from getting soaked and try to also keep spare clothes to stay warm in winter.
Take a red warning triangle
These can be purchased at your local motor retail shops. They are very handy in warning drivers that you have broken down. Only use these when you breakdown on a normal road, avoid using on a motorway. Place it 50 meters behind the car.
What to do if you breakdown
Put these on to warn other drivers that you have broken down. If it’s dark you may want to also put the side lights on.
Parking up and getting to safety
If you are on a normal road, park or pull into somewhere safe and wait in the car. If you are on the motorway, pull into the hard shoulder and park the car with the tyres turned into the verge. This will ensure that the car does not roll into the carriageway of hit from behind. Exit the vehicle from the left side and move away and wait behind a crash barrier if there is one. If you have children, make sure they are watched properly. Leave any pets you may have in the car in case they get spooked and run into the road.
Call your emergency breakdown service
Ideally if you breakdown on a motorway you want to pull up near an emergency phone. There are markers on the roadside letting you know where the nearest emergency phone is. The Highways Agency national switchboard can be called on 0300 123 5000 and is available from 07:00 to 19:00. Once you call them they will know exactly where you are located.
If you are not near an emergency phone you can use your mobile phone and call you emergency breakdown provider like Topautorecovery.co.uk or the police.