Survivor guide: Breaking down on a motorway

As far as road traffic accidents go, breaking down is normally one of the least damaging. Typically, it only involves one vehicle and provided everyone concerned, such as the driver and other motorists, act with proper sense and caution, all should emerge from the road incident unscathed.

However, it becomes a different matter entirely when motorways are involved. The combination of high speeds and heavy volumes of traffic means that any car accident here, no matter how apparently minor, can have far-reaching and serious consequences.

How can I avoid a serious road traffic accident when breaking down on the motorway?

Where at all possible, you should try and exit the motorway before stopping. Of course, this is not always achievable and in those circumstances it is best to:

–  Pull over to the hard shoulder, as far to the left as possible and with wheels pointing left to minimise the chances of further car collisions.

–  Leave your sidelights on and turn on your hazard warning lights to alert other motorists to your presence.

–  Get out of the vehicle via the door on the left hand side and ensure all passengers do the same. This should eliminate the possibility of being hit by a passing car and suffering traffic accident injuries.

–  Get as far up the bank or verge as is possible, ideally behind a barrier for extra protection.

–  As far as is possible, leave any animals in the car. In an emergency, they need to be kept under tight control at the roadside.

–  Put on any reflective jackets you may have in the vehicle.

–  Do not attempt any repairs. No matter how simple you think they may be, the hard shoulder is not the place to make them. Your priority is staying safe and avoiding further traffic accidents until help arrives.

–  Once you are in a safe place, phone for help. Driver location signs can help breakdown services find you quicker so keep an eye out for them.

–  If necessary, walk down your side of the road until you find an emergency telephone. Never cross the lanes. A car crash with a pedestrian on the motorway is almost certain to be fatal.

The complications of breaking down on the motorway are caused more by the location than by the fault itself. Avoiding further transport crashes and maintaining your own safety is by far the number one priority.

So for expert legal advice about a possible claim call Accident Advice Helpline today on: 0800 689 0500 from a landline or: 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.

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