Motorway SOS Phone Procedure

Every mile on the side of motorways in the UK you’ll find orange boxes containing a telephone to be used in the event of a breakdown. There is a motorway SOS phone procedure that you will need to follow if you need assistance.

To save you leaving your car, belongings and children, as well as time and police or Highways Agency resources (they’re responsible for handling all road activity, including major accidents), you can call for breakdown cover from a mobile phone instead.

If you don’t have or are unable to use your mobile phone, follow this advice on accessing and using SOS phones.

How to use the SOS phone

Before you can call for roadside assistance from your breakdown cover provider or anyone else, you need to get the car safely off the main carriageway. If you cannot wait until the next exit or service station, follow these steps:  

  • Pull on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as possible, with your wheels turned to the left
  • Turn on your hazard lights
  • Exit the car from a left-hand door – animals should remain in the car and children must be kept under control.

Once everybody is out of the car, secure it and have one person in the party make their way to the nearest SOS phone on your side of the carriageway – DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE MOTORWAY.

The telephone connects directly to the Highways Agency or police. You will need to:

  • Lift the handset and face the traffic when you speak on the phone
  • Give full details of your situation
  • Give the number of the nearest market post
  • Inform the Highways Agency or police if you are a vulnerable motorist; disabled, older or travelling alone.

When you have completed your call, return and wait near your vehicle, away from the hard shoulder (such as up a grassy bank).

Contact us today

As the most experienced breakdown cover service provider in the UK, the RAC understands what a trying and alarming experience breaking down on the motorway can be. We also know how dangerous the hard shoulder can be, with hundreds of people losing their lives and suffering serious injuries on them each year.

Breakdown Cover from just £4.50 a month

  • Our patrols fix 4 out of 5 vehicles at the roadside in just 30 minutes on average
  • As Britain’s most experienced provider we've been championing motorists for 120 years
  • 92% of our members would recommend RAC breakdown cover to their friends and family