What to Do if Your Car Breaks Down

It’s every motorist’s nightmare, but a car breakdown is something that will affect nearly all road users at some point. Make sure you know what to do if your car conks out by following our handy car breakdown advice.


A well maintained vehicle is much less likely to end up breaking down. Looking after your vehicle with regular servicing might seem an unwanted expense, but you’re paying for your vehicle to be fuel efficient and reliability.

Before starting your journey you should: check oil, coolant and other fluid levels. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated, and double check that the spare tyre is suitable. breakdown vehicle


Be prepared for a car breakdown by keeping the following items in the car – these will make life easier if your vehicle develops a fault: a warning triangle; high visibility vest; waterproof coat; walking boots; something to drink; a warm blanket and some energy bars.

Ensure that your mobile phone is charged and keep of note of the breakdown assistance number provided by your cover provider handy.

In the event of a vehicle breakdown

Keep calm. You’re well prepared and you know what to do!
  • Try if possible to keep going until you find a safe place to stop. Switch on the hazard lights and pull over on the left. Now deploy your warning triangle, in a safe position and only if it is safe to do so -– you should place it at least 45 metres behind your vehicle.
  • It’s best to wait outside and away from your car and the carriageway. Now you’re ready to call for help using your mobile phone.

Motorway breakdown

Much of the same advice applies to a breakdown on the motorway, but there are some important differences.
  • If your vehicle develops a problem while you’re on the motorway, always try to exit it at the nearest junction. If that’s not possible, put on your hazards and pull over to the far left of the hard shoulder. Point your wheels to the left.
  • Exit from the car via the left of the vehicle. Make sure that all passengers do likewise.
  • Wait away from the vehicle, if possible behind the crash barrier. Only get back in the car if you feel threatened. If you do, make sure you lock all the doors and put your seatbelt on.
  • Use the emergency telephone at the roadside, instead of your mobile - if this is possible. Using an emergency roadside phone will allow the operator to pinpoint your exact location. Roadside markers will show you the direction to the nearest emergency phone. These markers are spaced at 10 metre intervals on the hard shoulder. Never cross the carriageway.
  • Finally, do not deploy your warning triangle and never try to fix the fault yourself – even if you think it will be a simple repair.

Get effective cover

For peace of mind, always make sure you have effective breakdown cover.