At some point or another it is likely your car will break down. No matter how much preparation and maintenance you do, sometimes break downs are unavoidable. Often the causes are really simple and preventable, however, sometimes things just happen and when they do, it’s best to be prepared.

When you break down, it can be super stressful, especially if you have young passengers in the car. Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you know what to do if you are unlucky enough to break down:

Before Your Journey

Of course you cannot predict a breakdown, if you can then you’re best off taking a journey to the garage rather than anywhere else! But being prepared in case you do break down means that if it does happen, you’ll know exactly what to do, how to handle it and be able to get driving again quickly (or quicker than you would if you weren’t prepared!). It also makes the entire scenario a lot less stressful.

Car Broken Down? Here's What To Do…

Before you set off –

  • Get yourself breakdown cover – so many people think they don’t need it until they break down and have to pay out hundreds to get their vehicle towed home.
  • Ensure you have the number for incase you suffer a flat tyre.
  • Stick to analogue backup maps because you cannot rely on your phone to have signal or be fully charged if you break down. Get an old school paper map and keep it in your car, that way you have something to reference when you are letting recovery know your location.
  • Keep small change in the car – have some small change in the car in case you need to use a payphone.
  • Have an in-car phone charger – just in case you need to charge your phone.
  • Have your breakdown company number written down somewhere safe in the car, ideally with your policy number.
  • Take warm clothes, blankets, snacks and water in the car just in case you get stuck for while or in cold weather.
  • Ensure your car is in good condition, ensuring it is ready for the journey ahead.
  • Ensure your car has enough fuel for the journey ahead.

If You Break Down On The Motorway

Breaking down on the motorway can be really dangerous, with all kinds of vehicles driving past at the speed limit.

If you know you’re going to break down, pull over as quickly as possible using the hard shoulder to decrease your speed.

Even if you think you can fix the car, or if something really simple has gone wrong – do not try to fix it in this location. It is an extremely dangerous place to be, you should always wait for a professional to come and help you.

If you break down on a motorway follow this advice:

  • Do not stay in the car, get everyone out and away from the motorway. Children should be with you at all times and any pets should stay in the vehicle for their own safety, your safety and the safety of other drivers.
  • Always turn your hazards on, and if it’s dark, foggy or generally poor visibility switch on your sidelights as well.
  • If possible, locate the nearest emergency phone to call for assistance. When getting to the phone, stay away from the traffic.
  • After you have been to the phone, return to the vehicle and resume your position as far away from the traffic as possible.

When You Break Down Elsewhere

Breaking down on roads or streets away from the motorway can come with its own set of problems.

If you break down elsewhere follow these tips;

  • Pull over away from the traffic if possible.
  • Turn your engine off.
  • Always turn your hazards on, and if it’s dark, foggy or generally poor visibility switch on your sidelights as well.
  • If you have a red warning triangle, place this more than 50 metres away from the back of the car to let oncoming traffic know you are broken down.
  • Call for assistance.
  • Stay in the car if it is safe and wait for help, if it is not safe get away from the traffic and wait there.