Let’s face it, car break down is never fun. It’s even worse if you don’t know what to do and/or if you have kids or vulnerable people with you. So, our guide will help you plan for such an unfortunate event.

Firstly, if you know your car is going to need attention, but you can still drive it, albeit maybe at a slower pace, try and get it to a ‘safe area’. If you’re on a motorway, try and aim for the next exit or a services. If you’re on an A road, then a lay-by. Smaller B roads and urban areas…just try and find somewhere away from traffic (so down a side street) where you won’t be obstructing or causing a danger to others (i.e. try to avoid a bus lane).

If your car literally can’t be driven any further, you have no choice but to seek refuge wherever you happen to be. If possible, get your car as far over to the left as possible and put your hazzard lights on, and pop your bonnet. If you have people with you, get them out of the car and to immediate safety, either up a verge, on the pavement or on the pedestrian side of the car at least. Do not have them stand in front of the car (bonnet side) as vehicles travelling at speed who may not notice the stranded car and whom hit it, would cause injury to those positioned there.

Pop your bonnet next to show those approaching that you are stranded, not parked but if the car is on fire or steam is emitting from the engine, DO NOT release the bonnet at all.

If you have a luminous jacket or vest in your break down or first aid kit, put it on now. If you have a warning triangle, place it BEHIND the back of the car (so nearer the approaching traffic) and if on a bend, place it before the start of the bend to warn drivers behind you that they need to slow down.

Now, contact the emergency services (Police) if your car is vulnerable, or blocking bus lanes etc. Also contact your breakdown provider. At Autonational, our trained telephone operators will calmly take you through the process of getting help to you. Ideally, make a note of where you are before you call. If you’re on a motorway, there are markers by the side of the road (every mile), or tell them what junctions you are between. On A roads, we can identify your position by the orange telephone boxes in lay-bys…just take a note of the number on the side. If you break down in the middle of nowehere…no matter…Autonational operators will use your mobile phone to help identify you.

Operators should ask if you are vulnerable. If you are ill, or have ill or vulnerable passengers, inform the operator.

Whilst awaiting recovery, ensure you are positioned well away from the vehicle…ideally up a grass verge, but at least off the tarmac. If you break down at night time and you’ve lost all power, possibly use your mobile phone torch to warn approaching traffic of your, and your vehicles, whereabouts…

But, do not panic. Autonational deal with hundreds of breakdowns daily and we’ll get a local operator to you as soon as possible.