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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Don't let a breakdown get you down

8 April 2015

This week, the Institute of Advanced Motorists' chief examiner, Peter Rodger, is advising drivers on how to handle a breakdown on the motorway. Six out of ten deaths on motorways involve a stationary vehicle so breaking down is a very high risk. Here are Peter's seven tips to guide you through the process.

1. Always be prepared – keep a high visibility jacket, something waterproof and a charged mobile phone in your vehicle.

2. Don't press on if you feel your car has a problem; pull over onto the hard shoulder and park as far left as possible to avoid slowing down traffic behind you.

3. Always turn on your hazard warning lights to let other road users know you are slowing down and pulling over.

4. Never attempt to repair the problem yourself. Ideally, call motorway control using a roadside phone and then contact your breakdown company.

5. You should always call for help using an emergency roadside telephone. The distance to the nearest phone is marked on a sign on the hard shoulder. Never cross the carriageway to get to a phone on the other side. The operator will have already picked up your location if you use this phone.

6. Make sure you and any passengers leave your vehicle by the left-hand door – never wait inside the vehicle until help arrives. Stay behind a barrier or up the embankment.  If you feel threatened leave the nearside door open.

7. SMART motorways use the hard shoulder as an extra lane to give you more capacity on the motorway. If your car develops a problem on this type of motorway, leave at the next exit, or pull into a motorway service area. If you would like further advice on how to cope with a breakdown on a SMART motorway please refer to page nine of the Highways England driver booklet.

Peter said: "Breakdowns sometimes cannot be avoided, but the effect of them can be made as painless as possible. If you prepare for every eventuality, you can avoid the experience becoming too inconvenient and be on your way before too long."

For more information visit the IAM's website at www.iam.org.uk

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