Breaking down can be worrying, especially if you don’t know what to do.

That’s why we’ve flicked through the Highway Code and assembled a few top pointers on what to do to help you to safety.


If you notice a problem with your car, the Highway Code says to leave the motorway  at the next exit or pull into a service area. If this isn’t possible, you should pull onto the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as possible, whilst taking care from any soft verges, and stop with your wheels turned to the left.

Getting out of the car

Once you’ve stopped, put your hazard lights on. If it’s dark, you should put your side lights on too.

Leave the car by using the passenger side door, so that you’re not at risk of oncoming traffic. Make sure everyone in the car does the same, whether using the front or rear passenger doors and that they keep well away from the road.

If you break down on a motorway, move up the verge if it’s possible. If you have a reflective jacket handy in your car then you should put this on so that it’s easier for others to see you.

Warning triangles should never be used on a motorway – there’s a risk in even trying to put it out. If you’re on a road and it’s safe, you can put a warning triangle at least 45m behind your car.

If you need any of these items, we recommend the AA Breakdown & Emergency Kit, as it has everything you need to prepare you for these situations.

What about pets?

It’s not considered safe to get your pets out of the car, even though you might want to. The Highway Code advises that they are left in the car, unless of emergency e.g. if the car is smoking or badly damaged. If that’s the case, take them out of the car but make sure they are kept under control, whether on a leash or in a pet carrier.

Calling for assistance

It is when everyone is safely out of the car and away from moving traffic that you should call for help, even simple repairs should not be attempted.

If you don’t have a phone with you, walk to an emergency phone which will connect you directly to the highways agency or police. These are located at one-mile intervals along the hard shoulder and can be easily identified as bright orange boxes.

When using the phone don’t turn your back to the traffic. You need to be as visible as possible to road users.

On the call, provide as much information as you can, including location and who you’re travelling with. If you’re travelling alone, are disabled or in the company of children, mention this as it’ll indicate that you’re in a vulnerable situation.

Getting back to your car

Once you’ve got back to your car, wait at a safe distance away from your vehicle until help arrives. If you have reason to feel at risk from another person at this time, get into your car from a passenger door and lock the doors.

Need roadside assistance? Here at Halfords, we offer breakdown cover for your car and bike from less than 40p a week.

As well as receiving half-price discounts on MOT and 10% off servicing, we’re the only UK breakdown service to operate its own garages. This means you won’t have to worry about being towed to a really expensive or unreliable garage to get your vehicle fixed.

To find out more or to get a quote, click here.


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