There can be few fates worse that breaking down in the middle of a busy motorway, but there is no need to despair as long as you’re adequately prepared for the eventuality (try as we might, it can and will happen to us all at some point). There are currently almost 30 million cars now using major British roads (and that’s a conservative estimate) so motorway accidents are common and many of these accidents are caused by drivers who simply don’t know how to react when they’ve broken down. Their initial panic begins a chain reaction that can result in tragedy. Below we’ll discuss how best to handle yourself if you ever find yourself in such a situation.
What to do
Breaking down can be incredibly daunting in the best of circumstances; on a motorway it’s even more stressful, but don’t panic. The first thing you’ll want to do is get your vehicle as far across onto the hard shoulder as possible, turning your wheels all the way to the left. Leave all of your lights on and make sure your hazard lights are also on, then exit your vehicle from the left-hand side. If there is a bank, be sure to retreat up or down it, behind the barrier if possible and then call a repair service (such as the AA if you have cover) or the emergency services and wait for them to arrive. Always keep a charged mobile phone on your person at all times for this very reason. If you (for any reason) do not have access to a mobile phone, there should be emergency telephones spaced along the hard shoulder of the motorway. If you have to walk a fair distance to one though, make sure you’re walking on the other side of the road barrier! When phoning the AA or emergency services, be sure to check for the new ‘Driver Location Signs’, which can be used to more accurately pinpoint your location.
What causes a motorway break down?
One of the primary causes of any motorway break down is simply a lack of foresight. Whenever you’re setting off on a long car journey, make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to last you through your intended journey and more besides (you never know when you might get caught in a traffic jam). Also remember to regularly check your vehicle’s coolant levels, brake discs and pads, your engine oils levels and each of your tyres tread depth and pressure.
Unfortunately however, the motorway is (by its very nature) an incredibly dangerous place to break down, and as such it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that you might suffer a serious injury as the direct result of your breakdown. If your misfortune is the direct result of another driver’s negligence, you are well within your rights to file a personal injury claim. In such circumstances, you’ll require the services of a law firm who specialise in such cases. AAH (Accident Advice Helpline) are a law firm who specialise in personal injury compensation.