Picture the scene! You’ve decided it’s a great idea to head to the nearest picnic spot, so you’ve loaded up the car with the essentials, strapped the kids into the back and you’re going for an hour’s drive to get to the best scenery and place of fun for your family. So far, so good, right? Uh-oh. It’s started to rain. You press on with your journey anyway, and decide that an indoor place would be just as nice as a picnic in the sunshine. You’ve been driving for a good few miles, you’re on the motorway and the car is juddering and all the lights are shining and flashing. You pull over to the hard shoulder and now the car won’t start. It’s pouring with rain; the kids are whining and now your brain tells you it’s a good time to panic!
Well, panic not. It doesn’t matter the scenario, breaking down at the side of the road doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Breaking down doesn’t mean you should immediately burst into tears, but you do have to act quickly and be smart about it. Cars break down all the time on the motorway: batteries need replacing at a garage, car tyres need re-inflating by Air Supplies, whatever you need can be fixed. So, what do you do if the car gives up when you’re on a trip? How do you get yourself to safety?
- Before the car gives up, indicate and pull over to the hard shoulder. If you can get near to a telephone box, then fantastic, if not, pull up and turn your wheels into the left.
- Get the kids in the car to calm down and occupy them with an activity while you get yourself on the phone and calling for some help.
- Pop on the hazard lights, especially if there is inclement weather or it’s getting dark outside. You need to be visible.
- Call your car cover company and get them to come out to you in an emergency to be towed, or at least see to the problem. You should also call someone who can drive you and the children and their car seats safely home.
- Don’t attempt to get out of the car and wait if you cannot get to the hard shoulder. Put your seatbelt on with the hazard lights and wait for a rescue vehicle to get to you.
- Don’t panic! There’s nothing worse than panicking about being in a crash, and if you think with a level head you are far more likely to stay safe on the road. Your safety is paramount, and panic can skew your thinking.
When you get rescued, make a point of noting down the issue with the car so that you can be prepared for next time. Breaking down on the motorway is a scary experience, but it’s one you can overcome with a little quick thinking! Keep a level head and keep safe – that’s the most important bit!