What do you do in the event of a breakdown?

If you’ve broken down before, you’ll know that it’s a panic-inducing experience… Breaking down on the local roads is definitely an inconvenience, but it’s not as intimidating as being on a motorway with fellow road users whizzing past you. So, you might be wondering what steps to take if you do breakdown on the motorway. If you find yourself in that situation, this is what you can do:

Stay calm and come off the road

The most important part of getting to a safe place is staying calm. You won’t be able to act with good judgement if you are panicking! If you’re on the motorway, move to the left-hand lane and onto the hard shoulder if there is one. If you’re able to drive off the motorway completely, do this. If you’re on a smart motorway, there will be ERAs (emergency refuge areas) located roughly a mile and a half apart.

Use your warning lights

It’s important to notify other road users that you’re in trouble, allowing them to make their own choices about overtaking you. Put your hazard warning lights on no matter what time of day it is, and if it’s night time or foggy then use your sidelights and front lights as well. Not notifying other drivers of your troubles could result in them not taking much notice of you, causing possible accidents.

Stay away from the traffic

Once you have stopped on the hard shoulder, it’s a safe decision to leave the car, and get on the other side of the safety barrier to the traffic. This ensures that if another vehicle hits your car, you won’t come to any harm. You should make sure you are facing the oncoming moving traffic, making you aware of what’s happening on the road and ensuring you are visible.

Wear high visibility gear

It’s imperative that people see you when you’re out of your car on the side of the motorway. This is a potentially dangerous position for you to be in, so wearing high visibility gear will allow you to be seen by other road users without fail. It will also make you identifiable to the professionals coming to help you for breakdown assistance, especially if it is dark outside or visibility is low due to fog.

Keep a breakdown kit in your car

Make sure you have an emergency breakdown kit in your car. This could include many things, such as the following:

Emergency phone charger

If you need to call for roadside assistance, you will need enough charge in your mobile phone. Having a spare charger will ensure you’re not caught off guard.

Hazard warning triangle

A hazard warning triangle is normally placed on local roads at least 45 metres away, to let others know of your trouble. Don’t use these on motorways as the speed of other cars make it likely to blow away.

Tow rope and booster cables

These allow you to be moved off the roadside if you haven’t been able to already.


This will enable you to fix a puncture if you’re able to, meaning you can move on your way quicker. However, it’s still a good idea to wait for the professionals to help you.

Torch and batteries

Having access to your own light source will allow you to keep an eye out for your surroundings, as well as meaning that others can see you.

Warm clothing

You never know how long the wait will be, and you might be caught at night when temperatures drop. Warm clothing will ensure that you are kept comfortable.

Call the professionals!

Attempting to fix a breakdown by yourself is tricky, and doing so on the side of a motorway it might not be the safest idea. That’s why contacting roadside assistance and waiting until they arrive is the soundest route to take. If you are hiring a vehicle, a minibus for example, CVS Van Hire offers full nationwide breakdown coverage on every hired vehicle.

For excellent vehicle hire and well-maintained vans, give us a call on 020 8003 1184 or email info@cvsvanhire.co.uk.

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