What to do if you break down on the motorway

The RAC rescue service attends a breakdown on the M5 Motorway near Bridgend, Wales.   (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ensure you follow safe procedures if you break down, especially on the motorway. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

If you're unlucky enough to break down on a motorway, it's essential that you know what to do, for your safety, the safety of your passengers, and other road users.

Breakdown provider Green Flag recommends drivers follow these steps if breaking down on a motorway:

Make sure you pull to the left as soon as there’s a hint of trouble; then pull onto the hard shoulder and use this to slow to a halt; plus be careful not to run over any debris and as you come to a stop, switch your hazard lights straight on.

Here are some more tips:

Aim for an emergency phone: These are at one-mile intervals and will connect you directly to National Highways who will instantly know your location.

Never try to fix it yourself: Whatever the problem with your car, you should never attempt to mend it yourself at the roadside.

When your car is stationary: Turn the front wheels towards the verge. If the car is shunted by another vehicle this will ensure it moves away from the carriageway rather than into it. If it’s dark or visibility is poor, turn your side lights on.

Get everyone out of the car: Leave the car through the left-hand doors and move away from the vehicle. If you have children with you make sure they’re being looked after by a responsible adult away from the roadside – potentially up the verge where possible.

Don’t display your red warning triangle: With fast moving traffic the risks far outweigh the benefits of doing this.

Call for help: If you’re not near an emergency phone and you’ve got a mobile signal, ring either your breakdown provider or the police

Wait near your car for assistance: Make sure your vehicle’s locked and you’re standing safely away from any moving traffic.