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If your car breaks down whilst you’re at University or away during summer, it can often seem like the end of the world, especially if you haven’t got breakdown cover; but taking a few safe precautions with your car, and knowing a few things in the event of a break down can make all the difference between a trip ruining break and an annoying five minutes. Here are our tips on what to do if you’ve broken down:
Prevention: better than the cure
It’s obviously better to completely avoid breaking down, so make sure that your vehicle is regularly serviced and frequently carry out checks yourself from your manufacturers handbook. It sounds silly, but also make sure that you have more than enough fuel for the journey.
Don’t ignore your senses…
Listen for unusual noises and odd vibrations or movement from your car, and if you think that something is strange, slow down until you find a safe place to stop and ask for advice.
…Or the warning lights
If there is a problem, usually your dashboard will inform you too, so it’s important to make sure you know what all the symbols mean before you set off. Keep an eye on your dashboard, making sure to stop if an unusual warning light is on.
If you do have to stop, don’t panic! Remember that the hard shoulder and lay-bys are there for a reason. If you are unable to exit the traffic, stop as far to the left as you can and switch on your hazard lights.
Don’t exit from the driver’s side
In the event of a breakdown, exiting from the busy driver’s side can be risky, so attempt to get out from the passenger’s side where possible.
Wait somewhere safe
If the problem is something that can’t easily be fixed, call a breakdown service once you and any of your friends are away from further danger. Put yourself behind a barrier or just away from the road.
Leave the door unlocked
So that you can access your car if need be without any hassle. The biggest risk post-breakdown is a inattentive driver crashing into your car, so make sure that you sit somewhere safely away from the car.
If you’re in danger, call the police
If there is nowhere safe outside the car to wait, and there is a strong chance your vehicle could be hit, then call the police straight and tell them where you are. If you absolutely have to stay in the vehicle, remember to keep your seatbelt on.