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Step-by-step guide on what to do after a breakdown. Image by Newspress.

Step-by-step guide on what to do after a breakdown
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It's every motorist's worst nightmare: you're cruising along the motorway for a fun-filled excursion when your vehicle grinds to a halt.

You might notice a thick, black cloud of smoke emerging in your rear-view mirror, or perhaps your lights, radio and engine simply cut out without warning. Either way, it can be a terrifying and dangerous experience.

Since breakdowns are common, and any car can malfunction, it is important to know how to act in the event of an emergency.

1. Switch hazard lights on

The first thing you should do when you notice a vehicular malfunction is to hit the hazard lights.

These nifty illuminations are purpose-built to alert other road users that there is a problem, so they prevent collisions and give you the breathing space you need to make decisions.

2. Pull over quickly and safely

Hazard lights on, the next thing to consider is where you will stop the car. This should be the safest place your car can reach - if the engine is running, you may be able to exit the motorway to find a quieter stretch of road.

This isn't always possible, so you need to be prepared to act in a range of motoring circumstances. The most important thing is to keep your cool, giving each action plenty of time and thought.

If you're on a motorway, move to the hard shoulder quickly but safely - if it is possible to do so. If you're not, find a safe space to pull over, whether that's a layby or a wide verge.

3. Exit through the left-hand doors

Once your car is safely parked, exit the vehicle through the left-hand doors rather than the driver's side to avoid creating further hazards.

You might need to inspect your car to try to understand what has gone wrong.

4. Call for help as soon as it's safe

Your next priority should be calling for help. Keep a charged mobile phone in your vehicle with your breakdown cover provider's contact number saved.

It's also worth reviewing your policy regularly to ensure you're still receiving all the features you need.

Whether you're with the Big Three - the AA, RAC and Green Flag breakdown cover - or a smaller provider, it makes sense to make an annual comparison.

5. Use your warning triangle

In France, it is a legal requirement to carry two warning triangles at all times. This is not yet the case in the UK, but it's still a good idea to have some in your car.

Place these at least 45 metres behind your broken-down vehicle to help prevent crashes.

6. Await help - with safety in mind

With your car secured and help on the way, the only thing to do is wait. Try not to wait in your vehicle - either stay a good distance from the hard shoulder or find the nearest services, depending on the length of your wait.

Promoted by Bethany Taylor - 8 Jan 2019

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