What to do when you break down
Whilst you may assume that breaking down would never happen to you, there’s a good chance that it will. There are a staggering 180,000 vehicle breakdowns every year in the UK, with around 2,500 occurring every day. Needless to say, it’s not out of the question to think that you could end up being one of these unfortunate motorists at some point. With this in mind, it’s important to know what to do when you break down on the motorway or any other type of road. Read on to find out more.
On the motorway
Breaking down on the motorway can be a very stressful event, not to mention potentially dangerous. If your car breaks down on a motorway, follow these steps on what to do if your car breaks down on the motorway.
- Find a safe place to stop. Try to steer your vehicle onto the hard shoulder, staying as far left as you possibly can. Turn your wheels to the left too in order to prevent other motorists from clipping them.
- Turn your lights on. Once your car is safely off the road, turn on your hazard lights so that it is more visible to other drivers. If the light is poor, turn on your side lights too.
- Vacate the area. If you can safely do so, get out of the vehicle and stand behind the safety barrier on the motorway. Make sure you stay well away from moving traffic to avoid any potential accidents. Although it can be tempting to take pets with you, it’s safer to leave them in the car since they could distract other motorists.
- Call for assistance. Use your mobile phone to call for emergency breakdown assistance. You can call the Highways England helpline on 0300 123 5000 if you’ve broken down on the motorway. If you don’t have a phone or it’s not working for whatever reason, walk to an emergency phone. These phones are spaced at approximately one-mile intervals along hard shoulders.
- Wait for help to arrive. Don’t return to your vehicle once you’ve made the call. Stay on the other side of the safety barrier and wait for assistance.
- Don’t attempt repairs. Unless you’re a trained mechanic, it’s best to avoid attempting repairs yourself whilst on the hard shoulder. The motorway is a high-traffic, fast-moving environment, and you could be at risk of being hit by passing vehicles. It’s not a safe place to work on a vehicle.
On other roads
If you break down on any other type of road, you’ll need to follow similar steps to keep yourself and others safe. Here’s what to do when you break down on a road that’s not a motorway.
- Pull over. On other roads, find somewhere safe to park your car, ideally away from any other traffic. In this case, it’s important to be aware of pedestrians whilst doing so.
- Turn your lights on. Just as if you broke down a motorway, you’ll need to put your hazard lights on once you’ve stopped. Keep your sidelights on if the visibility is particularly bad.
- Use a warning triangle. If you have a warning triangle in your vehicle’s emergency kit, place it behind your car on the road. This will help to warn other drivers that you have broken down.
- Call for assistance. Use your mobile phone to call for roadside assistance or a breakdown recovery service. If you don’t have a phone or it’s not working, walk to the nearest emergency phone if there’s one available.
Most common reasons for breakdowns
There are countless possible reasons for cars breaking down, however, some are more common than others. The most frequent causes of breakdowns include:
- Battery issues. Battery problems, such as a flat or faulty battery, are common causes of breakdowns. Batteries can fail due to their age, extreme temperatures, or even leaving lights or electronics switched on when the engine is off.
- Tyre problems. Tyre issues, such as worn-out treads, punctures and blowouts, can lead to breakdowns. Insufficient tyre pressure can result in tyre failures.
- Engine problems. Engine-related issues can result in breakdowns, particularly problems with overheating, fuel delivery, electrician systems or ignition components. Coolant leaks can also be a common cause of cars breaking down. Regular engine maintenance is crucial for ensuring this key component stays working as it should.
- Alternator/starter motor failure. Since problems with the alternator or starter motor can prevent the engine from starting, they can easily lead to a breakdown. These components can fail due to their age, wear and tear or electrical faults.
- Fuel problems. Believe it or not, running out of fuel is one of the most common causes of breakdowns. Other fuel-related problems include using the wrong type of fuel or contaminated fuel, as well as issues with the fuel pump or injectors.
Car repairs in Barnsley
By carrying out necessary car repairs promptly, you can greatly reduce the risk of your car breaking down. At Wyatt’s, we can carry out all types of car repairs in Barnsley, ranging from replacing worn-out timing belts and brakes to fixing electrical system faults. Our mechanics are highly experienced and have worked on all makes and models of vehicles. Knowing what to do when you break down can be incredibly helpful, however, making sure your car is roadworthy to begin with can make it much less likely that you’ll end up stranded at the roadside. If you suspect there’s a problem with your vehicle or you already know it needs repair work carried out, get in touch with Wyatt’s today.
Now you know what to do when you break down, for car repairs in Barnsley, contact us today. You can reach us by phoning 01226 979 087 or by sending us a message through our website. We’ll aim to get your vehicle into our garage as soon as possible so we can carry out the necessary work and make your car roadworthy again.