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Simple checks that could avoid a motorway breakdown

Nobody wants to grind to a halt at the side of a motorway, and yet the most common causes of a breakdown are batteries, tyres and fuel

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Basic checks by drivers would help reduce the large number of avoidable and costly breakdowns that occur on the UK’s motorways every day, say road safety experts.

The most common reasons for motorists dialling out for an emergency rescue are the car’s battery and tyres, or running out of fuel. All of these scenarios can be avoided – or at least have the chances of them happening, reduced – if drivers took extra time to check their vehicles before setting off on a journey.

Simple maintenance checks greatly reduce the risk of trouble, say experts at road safety and breakdown recovery group GEM Motoring Assist. And the organisation is encouraging drivers to ensure they check battery condition, tyre pressures and fuel levels before driving on any motorway. 

“Breaking down on the motorway – or experiencing an emergency situation – can be frightening, especially if you’re not sure on what action to take,” says GEM road safety adviser James Luckhurst.

“A breakdown is always going to be a high-risk situation, for you, your passengers and the professionals who come out to rescue and recover your car. And there are ways of reducing that risk if you find yourself in difficulty. 

“But it’s important to know that most motorway breakdowns could be prevented by ensuring vehicles are well maintained and with plenty of fuel.”

Top tips if you do break down on a motorway

  • If your car is malfunctioning, aim to leave the motorway at the next junction or services
  • If this isn’t possible, move into the hard shoulder or the nearest emergency area
  • Put your hazard lights on
  • If you can, get out of the vehicle using the passenger door
  • Move behind the safety barrier if there is one and go on to the verge if it’s safe
  • Don’t attempt any repairs to your vehicle
  • Don’t put out a warning triangle
  • Call National Highways on 0300 123 5000, then a breakdown provider for help
  • If you cannot do the above, or in an emergency, stay in your vehicle, keep seatbelts and hazard lights on
  • Call 999 immediately

(Road safety advice issued by National Highways)

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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.