Prevention is better than cure, and well-maintained cars tend to break down less frequently than those less well looked after, but it is always best to be prepared.
This includes always carrying a fully charged mobile with emergency breakdown contacts, as well as:
- A torch.
- A local map.
- A first aid kit.
- High-visibility clothing.
- Emergency triangle.
When heading off beaten tracks, or during the dark, cold winter months, it is recommended to add the following articles to this emergency kit:
- Suitable footwear.
The following tips will help to keep drivers and passengers safe and prevent anyone being hit by another vehicle while waiting for help to arrive.
Stopping somewhere safe
When breaking down, it is best to prevent causing a vehicle accident by giving other traffic plenty of warning of the need to pull over. This is achieved by switching on the car’s hazard lights, reducing speed gradually and either turning off the main road or pulling over on a clear, straight stretch.
Preventing accidents on the motorway
If breaking down on a motorway, it is best to try and exit the motorway before pulling up. Should this not be possible, drivers should use the hard shoulder, preferably near an emergency phone. When parking on the hard shoulder, the vehicle’s wheels should be turned to the left, away from traffic. This helps to prevent potential motorway accidents by other vehicles hitting the parked car.
Preventing road accident injuries
Broken down cars occasionally get shunted from the rear by other vehicles. To prevent personal injuries, drivers and all other occupants should leave the vehicle by the passenger-side doors (anything within 0.5m of a hard shoulder/lay-by’s white line is at risk of being struck by traffic passing the scene) to wait for rescue in a safe place well away from traffic.
Avoiding injuries by road traffic accident
In order to remain safe and prevent accidental injuries, drivers should never attempt to:
- Repair cars by busy roadsides.
- Retrieve tyres/lost loads from busy motorways/roads.
- Cross motorway lanes.
It also helps to ask rescue services to keep drivers informed of the rescue process and provide a contact number/name in case concerns arise while waiting.
If you were injured by motoring accident through no fault of your own, you may qualify for personal injury compensation. Call Accident Advice Helpline to find out how to claim on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: March 6, 2014
Author: David Brown