What to do if your car breaks down

It is estimated that over a million drivers in the UK break down every year. Experiencing a breakdown can be a hard and stressful experience for anyone, especially if it is your first breakdown. To reduce the inevitable stress that occurs with a breakdown, follow these handy tips:

Pre-emptive measures

Although it is impossible to 100% prevent your car from breaking down, there are several measures you can take to reduce the chances:

-Get some good breakdown cover. Knowing that your car is covered in case of breakdowns can provide great peace of mind. #Green Flag provide breakdown cover that offers 24/7 breakdown assistance 365 days a year, with an average response time of 42 minutes.

-Maintain a healthy car. By keeping your car in good shape, you are going to get far more good journeys out of it. A few simple things you can do to maintain a healthy car are: keep your tyres inflated to the correct pressure, make sure your battery isn’t drained, and keep a decent amount of petrol for any journey – the last thing you want is to find you are running low when travelling in the middle of the countryside.

-Some issues that occur in cars are best resolved by a professional mechanic. Make sure that you regularly have your car serviced so that you can stay on top of any possible problems.

Prepare for the worse

-It is always handy to keep some spare change in the car. You may find that if you break down you are in an area where your mobile doesn’t pick up signal, in which case you may need to find a pay phone.

-Keep a torch in the car. The last thing you want is to break down in the middle of the night and not be able to see where you’re going or what you are doing.

-If you are registered with a breakdown assistance organisation make sure you have their contact details in your car at all times. If you’re not currently registered then you should seriously consider doing so.

In case of breakdown

-Pull over as soon as possible to a safe area at the side of the road. You want to make sure that you are clear of any passing cars so there isn’t any risk of further accidents. If you are on the motorway then you ideally want to pull off at the next junction or service area. For when this isn’t a plausible option, pull onto the hard shoulder. Make sure you indicate when doing so, and that you park as far into the hard shoulder as possible.

-Stick on your hazard lights immediately. It is essential that passing cars can see your car so there is no risk of further accidents. This also means that the tow truck or breakdown service can see where your car is when they come to see you.

-If you have one, place a warning triangle 45 metres behind your car. Like hazard lights, this allows others to see your car while it is broken down.

-Don’t wander into the road. This might be a no brainer, but depending on the extent of your breakdown you might not be thinking clearly. Just one misstep could be disastrous, and if it is dark your perception of where the road is could be inaccurate. If possible, get out of your car from the passenger side so you can avoid the road entirely.

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