Accidents and Breakdowns

(HC 274 – 287 )

AccidentsWhat to do if involved in an Accident or Breakdow

If you were involved in an accident was. you could have been created by accidents and breakdowns
Anybody personally hurt
If any vehicle damaged
Any property damaged
If any animals injured (certain of the larger farm animals e.g. sheep, cows need to be reported to the police)

THEN YOU MUST STOP. Also, give the following information to anyone who might have reasonable cause to need it:

Your name and address

The name and address of the vehicle owner if different

The registration number of the vehicle involved

The name and address of the insurance company

The details of the insurance i.e. Type and reference number

If someone is injured and you are not able to do this at the time, you MUST report it to the police within 24 hours. If the police ask for any more information, you are allowed up to 7 days to produce the required documents at a police station of your choice.


Make notes as soon as you can. Take photographs, draw maps if necessary, and keep a copy of any written or spoken statements. How can you remember that in a few months if you do not make a note of what happened?

Know what to do when a dangerous goods vehicle is involved.

The priority must be that of possible DANGER to you and others around you such as FURTHER COLLISIONS, or FIRE.

In most situations warn other traffic and switch off the engines of vehicles involved. Obtain help and inform the emergency services if required as soon as possible. Do not move people unnecessarily. Keep them warm.

Breakdowns again could be created by accidents and breakdowns

Be Prepared Carry a tool kit with some of these extras: – warning triangle, spare bulbs & fuses, torch, tow rope jump leads plastic container with water and a mobile phone, a day-glow fluorescent jacket

Where to stop If you are going to breakdown and stop, always try to stop in a safe space. Stopping on a roundabout or in the middle of a dual carriageway or motorway would be dangerous. Try to stop in a safe & convenient place.

Hazard Lights Once you have broken down if you are causing an obstruction switch on your hazard warning lights will help other drivers know what is happening. Remember you are not allowed to tow with your hazard warning lights on. Safety of self & passengers do not stand (or let anybody else stand), between your vehicle and oncoming traffic

At Night Keep your sidelights on if it is dark or visibility is poor & at night or in poor visibility do not stand where you will prevent other road users from seeing your lights

Use of Warning triangles Put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your broken-down vehicle on the same side of the road or use other permitted warning devices if you have them. Always take great care when placing them, but never use them on motorways

What to do if you are at an Accident and Breakdown

Breaking down can be dangerous, particularly if you’re on a motorway. But remember that the hard shoulder is only for emergencies, not for making calls, having a stretch or toilet stops.

If your car has broken down, here’s what to do to stay safe before you call us and while we’re on our way.

Make sure you’re in a safe place

  • Move your vehicle off the road if possible (watch out for any soft verges).
  • If you’re on a motorway and can’t turn off at the next exit, pull up onto the hard shoulder. Make sure you stop as far to the left as you can, with the wheels turned to the left.
  • Put your hazard lights on
  • Turn on your hazard warning lights.
  • If it’s dark or foggy, keep your sidelights on too.

Stay well away from moving traffic

  • It’s usually safest to get out of your car (using the doors facing away from passing traffic) and wait behind a barrier.
  • If you’re on a motorway, move up the bank if you can and stay upstream of oncoming traffic.
  • Leave any animals in the car.

Wear a reflective jacket

  • Put on a high-vis jacket if you have one.

Don’t put a warning triangle on the hard shoulder

  • If you’re on a motorway, it’s not safe to use a warning triangle.
  • If you’re on a road and it’s safe, you can put a warning triangle at least 45m (50 yards) behind your vehicle.

Call your Breakdown Service

  • Don’t attempt even a simple repair if you’re on a motorway.
  • If you don’t have a mobile, walk to an emergency phone on your side of the carriageway. Follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder – the phone is free and connects directly to the police.
  • All these steps are in line with the Highway Code Rule 274 which tells you what to do if you break down.

How to keep safe in a vulnerable situation

If you have a disability

If you have a disability that would stop you from following our steps if your car’s broken down, here’s what to do:

  • Keep your seatbelt on
  • Switch on your hazard warning lights
  • Call us or dial 999 if you’re in immediate danger.

If you feel at risk from another person

  • If you feel at risk, get back into your vehicle using a left-hand door and lock all doors.
  • Leave your vehicle again as soon as you feel this danger has passed.

If you can’t get to the hard shoulder

  • If you’re in a live motorway lane, stay in your vehicle unless you can be sure it’s safe to leave it.
  • Put your hazard lights on, keep your seatbelt on and call the emergency services.

Car park breakdown advice

If your car’s broken down in a car park, you’re not alone. Whether it’s a flat battery, keys locked in or a puncture, lots of people break down in car parks.

The good news is, they’re one of the safest places to be if your car lets you down.

  • Call for assistance or use our app to let us know you need help.
  • You don’t need to use hazard lights if you’re not causing an obstruction.
  • If you feel comfortable to do so, leave the car and wait by the car park entrance for us to arrive. Or you can arrange a clear meeting spot when our mechanic calls you. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to find a broken-down car in a sea of other cars.
  • If you want to wait in the car, open the bonnet so we can spot you.
  • Check you’ve got enough time left on your ticket or notify the parking attendant if not.

Town or city accident and breakdown advice

Breaking down in a busy town or city can be pretty stressful. You might be causing an obstruction and delaying other road users.

Here’s what to do:

  • Try to get to a safe spot where your car isn’t in the way of others.
  • If you are causing an obstruction, put on your hazard lights straight away.
  • Call us or use our app to tell us your location and get help.
  • Call a family member or friend and let them know where you are.
  • Open your bonnet to show others that you’ve broken down (and not just stopped to make a phone call or pick someone up).
  • Wait for a little way away from your car so you can keep an eye out for our van.

A-road or dual carriageway accident and breakdown advice

Busy main roads are among the most dangerous places to be stranded.

Stay safe by following these steps:

  • Try to exit the carriageway or pull into a lay-by.
  • If you can’t, get as far off the road as possible, being careful of ditches and soft verges.
  • Put on your lights and hazard lights. It’s important to be as visible as possible.
  • Call us or use our app to let us know you need help. Say that you’re in a dangerous location.
  • Call a family member or friend – let others know where you are.
  • Put on a high-vis jacket if you have one.
  • If you’re sure it’s safe to do so, put a warning triangle about 45m behind your car. If you’re on a bend, put it where it’s most visible (which might be further back around the bend).
  • Wait outside the car behind a barrier if there is one. If you can, move up the embankment but stay upstream of oncoming traffic.
  • If your car’s in the road and is obscured by a bend or other road feature, stand in a safe place further back down the road so you can warn other road users of the hazard.

Remote area or country lane breakdown advice

Breaking down in a remote area can be quite scary. But, it’s among the safest places to be stranded.

Here’s what to do:

  • Call us or use our app to let us know you need help and to send your location.
  • Call a family member or friend to see if someone can come and wait with you.
  • If you aren’t causing an obstruction, stay in the car and wait for assistance. You can lock the doors if you feel vulnerable.
  • Use your hazard lights only if you’re causing an obstruction.
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