Breaking down is never easy, especially if you’re in the middle of a busy road when it happens. There’s only so much preventative preparation you can do (keeping a full tank of petrol whenever possible, regularly checking your vehicle’s engine oils levels etc.) and chances are it will happen eventually. When it does, it’s important to stay safe and this article is going to take you through a few handy precautions for avoiding a serious accident.
Staying safe during a break down
All of the preventative measures you should be taking to avoid a breakdown can be summed up quite adequately by the AA’s ‘FLOWER’ system. This is an acronym which stands for ‘Fuel’, ‘Lights’, ‘Oil’, ‘Water’, ‘Electrics’ and ‘Rubber’, six things that should be checked on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what causes the break down though, the basic procedures should always be the same. First, make sure you switch on your hazard lights and keep all of your other lights on so that you are as visible as possible (especially important at night). Next, find a SAFE place to pull over. If you’re on the motorway and are too far away from a junction, you might have to pull over onto the hard shoulder (in emergencies ONLY) but if it can be helped, try to leave the motorway before stopping. Stopping in a running lane is incredibly dangerous but if you can’t get across to the hard shoulder for any reason, put your hazard lights on, use your mobile phone to call the emergency services and ONLY leave your vehicle when you can safely clear the road.
Once you’ve come to a stop, keep your wheels turned as far left as possible and exit your vehicle from the left. If you own a reflective jacket, put it on and stand well away from your vehicle, in case it is hit by oncoming traffic. Use your mobile phone to call either the emergency services or breakdown service (if you’re covered) and wait for help. If you have a flat tyre do not attempt to change it on the hard shoulder of a busy motorway. Wait for a professional!
What if the worst happens?
Unfortunately, whilst you can do all you can on your end, there is no way to avoid the stupidity of other drivers so no matter how vigilant you are during your break down, accidents can still happen. If an accident does occur whilst you’re broken down, as long as you follow all of the steps above it will NOT be your fault and as such you should be entitled to make a personal injury claim. At Accident Advice Helpline, we are experienced in helping those injured during traffic accidents make successful, no win, no fee* personal injury claims. Our phone service is in operation 24/7 and as we are an APIL accredited law firm with our own lawyers and solicitors, your claim can be handled from beginning to end by us with a minimum of fuss.