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Dec 24

What to do if you break down this winter

Posted by:AutoMoney


Breaking down in your car can be stressful and scary at the best of times, but breaking down in winter can be even worse, with dark nights drawing in early and cold biting winds all around.

We have listed our top tips for what to do when you break down, and these tips can of course be applied all year round. 

Stop somewhere safe

As soon as you notice a problem, pull over onto the left hand side and apply your handbrake. If you have nowhere safe to stop, or the engine has completely died, you can try to move over to the side, by pushing the car, and asking for help.

Alert others 

As soon as you have stopped, switch on your hazard lights – hazard lights are there for just that – alerting others of a hazard on the road, and these lights will hopefully make sure that cars can still see you, even on a dark road. If the visibility is poor, also switch on your side lights, but not your full beam, as this can be dazzling to other road users.

Call for help

As soon as you have stopped and alerted others to your car breakdown with your hazard lights, phone for breakdown assistance, or if you do not have breakdown cover, phone a friend or family relative so that you know help is on the way or that your are not going to be alone for long. Breakdown companies will always prioritise their recovery teams depending on the situation, so single women and women with children will always be pushed to the front of the queue.

Keep the engine dry

If it is raining, it is best to avoid opening the bonnet and getting the engine wet, as it could make the problem worse. If this is the case, wait for breakdown assistance to come.

Stay warm 

In cold temperatures, and if you have vulnerable passengers with you such as young children and the elderly, keep the engine on if it is safe to do so, to continue the flow of heat into the car.

Motorway Breakdowns

If you are on the motorway and suffer car trouble, pull over at the nearest services or junction. If you are unable to do so or your car fails completely, pull over on to the hard shoulder and get out of the car as soon as it is safe. Motorways are extremely busy even in hazardous conditions and many fatalities and life changing accidents occur through people sitting in their broken down vehicles, even if they are off of the carriageway.

All motorways by law have to have emergency telephone points – these are clearly signposted by arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder. These phones will connect you directly to the police or the Highways Agency and are free to use. They are also numbered, so your location can be easily found for the rescue services.

It goes without saying that no vehicle should sit on the hard shoulder unless there is a problem that prevents the driver from proceeding in safety. 

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