Break down on a motorway: What to do.

Break down on a motorway: What to do.

Firstly, always make sure you plan your journey and ensure your vehicle has enough fuel to get to the next service station before you enter the motorway. It is extremely dangerous if you break down on a motorway, so if you’re unlucky and it happens to you just follow the tips below to help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and other road users.

Do not stop unless it is absolutely necessary

Stopping on a motorway is illegal unless in an emergency or the vehicle is unable to continue due to mechanical failure. If you stop and break down on a motorway make sure you position your vehicle well to the left on the hard shoulder as far as possible from th efast moving traffic.

Your Safety While Waiting On The hard Shoulder

Top 5 tips by the Highways Agency for what to do when breaking down on a motorway

Pull on to the hard shoulder and stop your vehicle as far over to the left as possible and as near to an emergency phone as you can. Turn you ignition off and turn your hazard warning lights on to give moving traffic earlier warning of your presence on the hard shoulder.
DO NOT stay with your vehicle. Make sure that all occupants exit the vehicle from the left side, leaving all pets in the vehicle.
Make sure you use the nearest emergency roadside phone rather than your mobile because emergency roadside phones show your exact on the motorway on the operator’s screen making it much easier for you to be found. These emergency phones are placed one mile apart and roadside markers are placed 10 metres apart which show how far you are from the start of the motorway and the direction of the nearest emergency phone.
Continue to keep well back from the motorway and well back from the hard shoulder while waiting for help. Never return to your vehicle and avoid starting even small repairs yourself.
Can’t get to the emergency phone? If you are hurt, ill or have a disability preventing you from using a roadside phone then you should

  • Remain in the vehicle with the seatbelt fastened
  • Make sure your hazard warning lights are turned on

If you have a mobile phone dial 999 and the emergency services exactly where you are located – the motorway you are on, the direction of travel, and the previous/next junction number if known. You may be able to see a roadside marker or a location sign which will help you tell the operator where you are and where to send help.
What do driver location signs look like?

If you break down on a motorway look for the location sign

Driver location signs can be found on an A (Arterial) road or a Motorway and all look the same. These signs have bright yellow letters, a blue background and a white border.The information on these signs is as follows:
the first row shows the motorway or A road number (M25 for example)
the 2nd row indicates the direction of travel. For example (on the M25 ‘A’ means clock-wise and ‘B’ means anti-clock-wise)
the 3rd row shows the distance in metres from the start of the motorway or A road you are travelling along. This distance is accurate to withing twenty metres.
The information on these signs can be used to inform the emergency services or the Highways Agency on the location of a traffic accident, damage or debris on the road.

To report an incident phone 999 or 112.

To inform the Highways Agency Information of debris or damage, call 0300 123 5000.