Breaking down is every Driver’s worst nightmare – we’ve all heard the anguished accounts of people waiting hours on end in the freezing cold for their insurance company to come and tow their car away.

Then there are the horror stories of multi-car pile ups and accidents after a car has broken down. On average, 800,000 British Drivers break down a year due to the lack of fuel in their car, and one third of cars aged three to 10 years old will break down over the next 12 months. The best way to prevent your car from breaking down is to give it a little TLC and basic maintenance.

Depending on what type of road you are on, dictates what you should do to get yourself in a safe situation and prevent yourself from harm’s way. But one thing’s for sure – if your car happens to break down mid-journey, then you must keep calm. That way, you’ll be able to think logically about the next steps and remove yourself and any passengers out of danger. Here’s what to do if your car breaks down.

As soon as your car breaks down you should:

● Switch your hazard lights on

● If it is foggy or dark, turn your side lights on

● Locate the safest place for you to stop

● If it is safe to do so get out of the car – avoid oncoming traffic

● If you have a hazard triangle place it 45 metres behind your car,

● If you have reflective clothing put it on

● Call someone for help.

Who Do you Call if Your Car Breaks Down?

As soon as you’ve realised your car has broken down, your main priority should be getting yourself and your car out of traffic. In some cases, it may be safer for you to stay inside your car (unless you are on a Motorway). These instances may be;

● You are on your own or feel vulnerable

● You are physically unable to get out of the car

● You are in an unknown area or an area you do not feel safe in

If any of these apply, then follow these simple steps;

● Find a safe place away from traffic to stop,

● Keep your car doors locked,

● Make sure your wheels are facing left,

● Take your keys out of the ignition

● Use your mobile phone to call for help

● Phone a close friend or family member to let them know where you are.

Even if you are with people or you’re on your own, you shouldn’t open your car door to strangers. Should someone approach you and offer their help, open your window slightly and ask them to phone the police. Once uniformed police and other emergency services arrive follow their instructions.

What Do you Do if You Break Down on the Motorway?

Never try to fix a car on a Motorway. The hard shoulder is part of the Motorway that is designed for emergencies. As soon as you have broken down you should;

● Switch your hazard lights on

● If it is foggy or dark, turn your side lights on

● Locate the hard shoulder and stop

● Turn your wheels to the left

● Get out of the left-hand side of the car away from oncoming traffic

● If you have a hazard triangle place it 45 metres behind your car

● Stay away from oncoming traffic

● If you have reflective clothing put it on

● Call someone for help

On average, every day 250 drivers illegally use the Hard Shoulder on the M6 and M42 to do things such as pick flowers, take a nap or make a phone call. Stopping on the hard shoulder is incredibly dangerous, which is why it is so important to get out of the car. One out of 10 motorway fatalities are due to the combination of a high speeding vehicle hitting a stationary one.

What Do you Do if you Break Down on a Smart Motorway?

A Smart Motorway is a Motorway where the Hard Shoulder has been converted into a traffic lane. If your car has broken down on a Smart Motorway then you should;

● Switch your hazard lights on

● If it is foggy or dark, turn your side lights on

● Leave at the next junction or seek the Emergency Refuge Area (ERA)

● Stop if it is safe to do so

● Get out of the left-hand side of the car away from oncoming traffic

● If you have a hazard triangle place it 45 metres behind your car

● Stay away from oncoming traffic

● If you have reflective clothing put it on

● Call someone for help

If you are in the left-hand lane and unable to get to the ERA or next junction;

● Stop as soon as you possibly can

● Get out of the left-hand side of your car

● Stand behind the barriers

● Phone for help

To prevent your car from breaking down, you should make sure to frequently service it. WhoCanFixMyCar partners with over 9,000 local garages, to help you find the best specialist near you, so don’t wait until it’s too late.