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What to Do If You Breakdown

Be Prepared

In the best case scenario when breaking down, you would have everything that you need to hand, however, this isn’t always the case. Ease the stress of a potential breakdown by packing these useful items in the boot of your car. Hopefully, you won’t need to use them, but if you did, it would make the situation easier to manage!

  • High visibility vest – so you can be seen if you have to leave your vehicle on a busy road or motorway.
  • Warning triangle – to alert other drivers that you are in difficulty on the road.
  • First aid kit – in case of emergencies.
  • In-car phone charger – to keep your mobile phone battery topped up in case you need to contact the emergency services, your breakdown provider or family.
  • Bottled water – to drink or to replenish your engine coolant if overheating is the cause of your breakdown.
  • Blankets – to keep warm in case you have to wait a long while for your vehicle to be recovered.

You can also plan ahead by checking your tyres and engine fluid levels every three weeks and ahead of long journeys.

Roadside Breakdowns

Breaking down whilst driving can be a stressful experience, but you need to prioritise the safety of yourself, your passengers and other road users. You can do this by trying to pull over and park somewhere that will cause as little of an obstruction as possible. Once parked, switch on your hazard warning lights so as to warn other traffic that you are in difficulty.

If it is safe, set up a warning triangle 50 yards behind your vehicle and put on a reflective jacket. If you can, and it is safe to do so, you may carry out repairs to your vehicle, but remain aware of traffic at all times.

Ensure that all passengers are in a safe place away from the road, at least a few metres from the vehicle, and use your mobile to call for help if required. If you are on a busy road or you were forced to park in a dangerous position, such as on the brow of a hill or around a bend, you should call the police who will be able to set up traffic alerts to help divert traffic and prevent potential accidents.

Breaking Down on the Motorway

If your vehicle breaks down when you are travelling on the motorway, you must get off as soon as possible. If it is an emergency, you can use the hard shoulder, if not, you should pull in to the next service station you come to.

It is illegal to use the hard shoulder for anything other than an emergency, but if this is your only option you should pull on to it safely and stop as far to the left as possible, positioning your wheels so that they all face left.

You should then put on your handbrake, hazard lights and side lights and safely exit the vehicle using the left hand doors. All passengers should exit the vehicle safely and wait on the bank, behind the barrier, away from the road. You should put on your reflective jacket, if you have one, but never attempt to repair your vehicle or set up a warning triangle on a motorway.

Phone for assistance using your mobile phone and also inform the police of your breakdown.

Common Reasons for Breaking Down

Common causes of breakdowns include the following:

  • Battery failure
  • Tyre blowouts or punctures
  • Running out of fuel
  • Engine failure

To safeguard against breaking down, Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre would recommend having a car service at least every 12 months, or 12,000 miles, whichever comes soonest. Take a look at all of the car servicing options available at Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre here.

For further advice on what to do in case of breaking down or to have any components of your vehicle checked, simply contact your local Dexel Tyre & Autocentre branch.