What to do if your car breaks down

Breaking Down a Break Down
Have you ever had a breakdown and just weren’t sure what to do? Or maybe you’re worried about breaking down and have no idea how to deal with it. We’ve got you covered.

Breakdown truck with car

Get Prepped
If you don’t have a breakdown kit in your car, now’s the time to put one together. In ours, you’ll find:

  • A warning triangle
  • Some warm clothes and a plastic mac
  • Spare bulbs and fuses
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Hi-Vis jacket
  • Emergency numbers
  • Bottled water and snack bar(s)

Lots of Banks offer breakdown cover with particular accounts, check yours to see if you’re covered. If not make sure you have breakdown cover. It will make your life so much easier!

In the Moment 

If you can, move your car to a safe space.

  • Make sure you’re over to the left as far as possible
  • Try and get those wheels pointing left too
  • Get those hazards on
  • Let other drivers know that you’re not going anywhere
  • If it’s dark or foggy, keep your sidelights on.

Sounds obvious but please stay away from moving traffic!

  • It’s usually safer to get out of the car but leave animals in the vehicle
  • Be sure to exit the vehicle by the door furthest from the traffic
  • Make sure you’re wearing the reflective/Hi-Vis jacket you have in your breakdown kit
  • If you’ve broken down on a normal road, place your warning triangle approximately 45 meters behind your vehicle
  • If you have broken down on a normal road and have no phone, walk (carefully) towards a local petrol station, shop etc. and ask to make a phone call
  • This is when your list of emergency numbers comes in very handy
  • If you are in any way vulnerable i.e. you have a disability, feel in danger from another person or can’t get to a hard shoulder, let the operator know


On a Motorway:

  • If you break down on the motorway try and move up the bank or at the very least stand behind the barriers!
  • DON’T put your warning triangle out if you’ve broken down on the motorway
  • It’s not safe
  • If you are on a motorway and you don’t have a mobile, run out of battery or have no signal
  • Walk (carefully) towards to an emergency phone
  • You can follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder
  • The phones are free and connect directly to the police.

High/main beam

ALWAYS act with caution and never put yourself or anyone else in danger. Do NOT try and carry out repairs on a motorway, even small ones. ALWAYS call for help. If you are in serious danger call the appropriate Emergency Services IMMEDIATELY.

The Highways Agency National Switchboard: 0300 123 5000

Emergency Services: 999