Breakdown on a Motorways 

Going on long journeys can make it more likely that your car will breakdown. Having your vehicle serviced regularly will reduce the chances of this happening. Also, making a few simple checks on your vehicle before your journey will make it much less likely that you will breakdown.

Many people breakdown because they run out of fuel; this is very easily avoidable and before you join a motorway you should make sure you have at least enough fuel for your journey. Remember that you may have diversions and traffic holdups, so you may use more fuel than you anticipate.

Check your oil levels when your car is on a flat surface and when the engine is not hot. Other fluids should also be checked, like engine coolant and windscreen washer fluid.

You should also test that your brakes working effectively.

Tyre pressures should be checked, as well as the condition of your tyres. There should be no cuts or bulges, no worn out or damaged tyres and the tread depth should be sufficient.

Make sure that all your lights are working including your:

• headlights

• brake lights

• indicators

Doing all these checks will make it less likely that you breakdown on a motorway journey.

Breaking Down on a Motorway

If you are unfortunate enough to breakdown on a motorway you should try to get to the next exit, but if you can’t do this then move onto the hard shoulder as safely as possible.

A hard shoulder is the furthest left lane on a motorway; the lane that you will move into in an emergency, for example if you have broken down.

Move your car as far to the left of the hard shoulder as possible, and leave your wheels turned towards the left so that if you’re hit from behind your car isn’t pushed onto the main carriage way.

Once you have stopped:

• switch on your hazard warning lights

• make sure your side lights are on if necessary

• leave the vehicle by the nearside door, this is the passenger door

• telephone the emergency services

• stand behind the barriers facing the traffic

You MUST NOT try to fix your own car – not even simple repairs.

You MUST NOT place any kind of warning device, like a warning triangle, on the hard shoulder.

Calling For Help

Remember, it’s better to use an emergency telephone rather than a mobile phone.

Emergency telephones are connected to control centres and the number on the telephone gives your exact location.

To find an emergency telephone you should look for marker posts, which are 100 metres apart on the hard shoulder. Marker posts will have a telephone symbol and an arrow which points towards the nearest phone.

While you’re waiting for the emergency services you should go up onto the embankment near your vehicle. Make sure you are facing the oncoming traffic; you want to know what’s coming towards you.

Mobile Phones

If you can’t use an emergency telephone, use your mobile phone. Before you call make sure that you know your exact location so that the emergency services can get to you. Marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder will tell you this information.

Disabled Drivers

If you have any kind of mobility difficulty you should stay in your car:

• Keep the seat belt fastened

• Switch on your hazard warning lights

• Use your mobile phone to call for help

Re-joining the Motorway

When your vehicle is ready to be driven again you will need to safely re-join the motorway.

Firstly, make sure that your hazard warning lights are switched off, then start driving on the hard shoulder and build up some speed. Move into lane one when there’s a safe gap.

Smart Motorways

A smart motorway is one which has technology that identifies how busy the motorway is. This technology is also known as Active Traffic Management (ATM).

When the motorway becomes very busy, speed limits will become lower and traffic may be allowed to drive on the hard shoulder.

A metal framework that goes over all lanes (gantry) will display different speed limits and will let drivers know which lanes can be used and which lanes must not be used.

A red cross above a lane means you must not drive in in it. Only use that lane in an emergency or breakdown. (A red cross over all lanes means you must not keep on driving at all in any lane on the motorway).

Breaking Down on a Smart Motorway

If you are driving on a smart motorway and you breakdown, you should try to leave the motorway at the next exit.

If this is not possible, then you should stop in one of the emergency refuge areas.

Once you have stopped:

• switch on your hazard warning lights

• make sure your side lights are on if necessary

• leave the vehicle by the nearside door, this is the passenger door

• use the emergency roadside telephone

• stand behind the barriers facing the traffic

You MUST NOT try to fix your own car – not even simple repairs.

You MUST NOT place any kind of warning device, like a warning triangle, on the hard shoulder.

Re-joining the Motorway from an Emergency Refuge

An emergency refuge area is just like a layby. There is no opportunity to build up speed before entering lane one of the motorway.

It would be very dangerous to enter lane one of a motorway at a very slow speed.

Therefore, YOU MUST contact highways England before re-joining the motorway from an emergency refuge area.

Lanes on the motorway can then be temporarily closed so that you can re-join the motorway safely.

Before moving away make sure you turn your hazard warning lights off.

DVSA Theory Test Update

The DVSA have recently added to new questions to the theory test related to re-joining a motorway safely.

Why not have a go at the two questions? Let us know how you get on…

Question 1

How should you re-join the motorway after a breakdown on the hard shoulder?

A. Move straight out into the left-hand lane as you are not allowed on the hard shoulder

B. Build up speed on the hard shoulder before looking for a safe gap in the traffic

C. Wait until a vehicle in the left-hand lane signals to you that it’s safe to re-join

D. Keep your hazard lights flashing until you have safely re-joined the carriageway

Question 2

You have stopped in an emergency refuge area. What must you do before you re-join the carriage way?

A. Give an arm signal as you are moving off

B. Switch on your vehicle’s headlights

C. Be prepared to stop

D. Use the emergency telephone

Theory Test Course has all the latest DVSA practice theory test. Before practicing the questions, the course has worksheets to fill in, video tutorials to watch, fact lists to listen to, and much more. If you want to pass your theory test first time go to:

https://testbuddy.app/courses/theory-test-lessons/?ref=1

ANSWERS:

Question 1: B

Question 2: D

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