How to handle a vehicle breakdown

How to handle a vehicle breakdown

Being prepared can make breaking down a far less stressful experience, so says Britain's top advanced driver.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, recommends knowing what to do and when to do it - just in case the worst happens and you find yourself stuck at the side of the road.

Putting the number of your breakdown company and your membership number in your phone is a start, while keeping a reflective jacket, warm waterproof clothes and a torch in your car can also help greatly.

Some breakdown services offer free mobile phone apps, even if you are not a member, plus you can use your phone's GPS system to find your precise location.

It is important to stay safe, so get out of the vehicle by the left-hand door and make sure all of your passengers do the same.

Stand well away from moving traffic. If there is a safety barrier, wait behind it, and put on high-visibility jackets.

Where possible, coast to an emergency telephone. But do not in any circumstances attempt a repair on the hard shoulder of a motorway.

Call yourbreakdown company as soon as you can. They will do the rest.

RAC head of external relations Pete Williams said: "Safety should always be the first priority when you break down in your vehicle and it is of paramount importance when you are on a motorway. While motorways tend to be the safest roads the combination of traffic volumes and high speeds can make them lethal.

"We always advise our members and their passengers to leave their vehicle by the left-hand doors and wait nearby, well away from the carriageway and hard shoulder behind the safety barrier if there is one, and if it is safe to do so. And try to remain facing and conscious of the traffic.

"Give full details to the Highways Agency or the police and inform them if you are a vulnerable motorist such as disabled, older or travelling alone. Before leaving your vehicle please make it as noticeable as possible by putting on the sidelights and hazard warning lights."

Copyright Press Association 2014