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Stay safe if you breakdown - Warning triangle


Breaking down can be worrying, at times frightening, so we’ve compiled some top tips on how to keep you and your passengers safe if you find yourself in this situation. Of course, looking after your vehicle and getting it regularly serviced will help to avoid a breakdown – but they still happen. Read on for out top tips:
If you break down on any road other than a motorway
  • Get your car off the road or as far over to the left-hand side of the road as possible
  • Turn your hazard warning lights on and make sure your headlights are on if it’s dark or there’s low visibility
  • Put on a hi-vis jacket and lightly coloured clothing if you have them. Ideally, you should carry one hi-vis vest for each passenger and ask all occupants to wear them. If the car is in the road or verge, ensure everyone leaves the stricken car and stands in a safe place well away from traffic – particularly if the speed limit is above 30mph
  • Carefully place a warning triangle 45 metres (about 150 feet) behind your car, on the same side of the road. Don’t forget to retrieve it when you’re rescued!
If you break down on the motorway
If you sense something isn’t quite right with your car and it’s safe continue, check the car’s temperature gauge is normal, and if so, drive steadily to the closest exit where you can leave the motorway and find a safe place to inspect the car. If it isn’t safe to continue, or you risk further damage to the vehicle, try and move safely over to the hard shoulder as soon as possible. Juddering or a loss of power might be something you hope proves to be temporary but breaking down in a fast-moving live lane on the motorway is obviously very dangerous.
If you can’t get to the hard shoulder and find yourself stricken in a live lane, immediately put on your hazard warning lights and apply the handbrake. Stay in your car with your seatbelt on unless you think you can safely get clear of the carriageway. Dial 999 and follow the instructions of the emergency services. Do not attempt to deploy a warning triangle.
Assuming you can get to the hard shoulder
  • Pull over as far to the left as possible with your wheels pointed towards the kerb
  • Turn on your hazard warning lights and headlights and apply the handbrake
  • Put on a hi-vis vest or jacket and ask all passengers to do the same
  • Get yourself and all occupants out of the car through the passenger-side doors and ensure you’re all safely stood behind a metal barrier away from the motorway. Use an emergency roadside telephone rather than your mobile to call for help, as this enables recovery services to pinpoint where you are more precisely
  • Make sure you face traffic when speaking on the phone and be sure to inform the operator if you have young or vulnerable people travelling with you
  • Don’t attempt to deploy a warning triangle
  • If the recovery service manages to repair your car on the hard shoulder, don’t forget to wait for a large gap in traffic and build up speed quickly before re-joining the main carriageway


If you’re not a member of one of the major breakdown and recovery companies, don’t panic, Scrap Vehicles Bristol & GMP Motors Southwest are here to help. We can recover vehicles in any situation and are on hand 24/7 for your convenience and we promise that we won’t keep you hanging around. If your car has broken down, we will attempt to fix the car at the roadside if possible. However, if the problem can’t be fixed, you and your passengers will be towed safely to any garage within a 150-mile radius of Bristol, or your home or business if you prefer.
Stay safe if you breakdown - Scrap Vehicles Bristol

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