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How To Stay Safe If You Break Down With Our 9 Top Tips

Breaking down can be very frightening, so we’ve compiled our 9 Top Tips to keep you and your passengers safe if you find yourself in this situation.

Of course, looking after your car and getting it regularly serviced is the best way to prevent a breakdown, but we’re not here to lecture you, instead we want to provide you with invaluable information to help keep you safe in case your car breaks down.  


Get your vehicle off the road

In most instances, you’ll get a prior warning that something is not quite right with your car, for example, a sudden loss of power may indicate that the battery has run down, or a hissing sound may mean that the engine has overheated, and you are about to break down.

If you’re lucky enough to get a pre-warning, then try and get yourself to the nearest service station if possible. If you’re unable to do this and find yourself breaking down on the motorway, then always try and pull onto the hard shoulder and then put your hazard lights on.

If you’re on a smart motorway where there is no hard shoulder, look out for the large blue signs with a telephone and SOS on them. These are called Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA) and are dotted along the motorway every 1.5 miles.

Both types of motorways have telephone points that allow you to contact Emergency Breakdown Assistance. By stopping on one of the designated emergency hard shoulders your exact position is known, and this is very handy for Roadside Recovery and the emergency services to be able to find you.

If you’re unable to get to a lay-by, hard-shoulder, or Emergency Refuge Area, in accordance with The Highway Code, safely come to a stop, and put your hazard lights on. If it's not safe to exit the vehicle, then dial 999 for assistance before you call us for roadside assistance.

Get out of your vehicle

You might be tempted to stay inside your vehicle when you’ve broken down, especially if the weather is bad or if it’s dark outside. However, you need to remember that your car is now stationary and a hazard to other motorists, so staying inside is extremely dangerous.

You and any passengers (and pets) should exit the vehicle (if it's safe to) via the passenger side. Once you’re out of the car, stand behind the safety barrier if there is one. If there is no barrier, stand as far away from the vehicle as you possibly can.

Call us for reliable breakdown assistance

When you’re in a safe location contact us and we’ll come and rescue you.

GMP Recovery Southwest offers a trusted and reliable Emergency Breakdown Recovery service covering a 150-mile radius of Bristol.

We recover any type of vehicle, and we’ll safely tow you (and your passengers) to the garage of your choice or your home.

We’re fully insured and offer very competitive prices for both long and short distances.

And, you don’t have to worry if you have any pets with you, as your fur babies are welcome to travel in the recovery cab too.

Our average roadside assistance service is 1 hour (depending on your location). We always aim to get to you as fast as we possibly can.

Here are our numbers so you can store them on your phone 0117 4011511 / 07881273732

Do not re-enter your vehicle

Once you’ve left your car safely, do not attempt to re-enter it, even if you’ve left something important in there. It’s not worth risking your life for the sake of some personal possessions!

Wait until our first-class breakdown assistance arrives and we can help you recover the items you need.

Don’t flap

We know just how stressful breaking down can be, but it’s important to try and stay levelheaded. Panicking could lead to you making an irrational decision that could put you and your passenger's lives in danger.

Stay calm, be patient and wait for our emergency roadside assistance.

Remember to stay behind the barrier or far away from the road as you possibly can.

Don’t attempt to fix your vehicle

You might be an expert at changing car tyres and fixing other mechanical problems, but doing this at the roadside when you have other vehicles whizzing past, is not a good idea.

Our advice is to think of safety first and leave any repairs needed, to the experts.

Use your reflective triangle (never on a motorway)

The Highway Code states that if you break down on a carriageway (a two-way road) you should place a reflective triangle at least 45 metres behind your car, only if it is safe to do so.

You must NEVER place the triangle behind your car if you’ve broken down on the motorway. This is not only because the traffic is traveling at high speeds and you could get knocked over, but the triangle could get blown onto the motorway, causing a major hazard to other motorists.

Stay Alert

There’s a lot of kind-hearted people out there who will pull over to lend a hand when they see someone in trouble. But, on the other hand, there are some people that won’t always have your best interests at heart, and so it’s wise to stay alert and have your wits about you. And remember if you feel in any kind of danger don’t hesitate to call 999.