Breakdown advice from the WMS Group

There is never a good time to break down, but if it happens to you, following our advice can help to keep you and your passengers safe and sound at all times.

Motorway breakdowns

If an emergency forces you to stop on the motorway, you must pull on to the hard shoulder, keeping as far to the left as possible with your wheels turned to the left. If the hard shoulder is inaccessible, switch on your hazard warning lights and only exit your vehicle when you can safely get clear of the carriageway. If you have a disability which prevents you from exiting the vehicle, keep your seatbelt fastened and hazard warning lights on, using a mobile phone to contact emergency services if possible.

Be seen

If you are able to reach the hard shoulder, the next step is to switch your sidelights and hazard warning lights on before exiting your vehicle via the passenger door and ensuring all passengers do the same. Animals should be left in the vehicle unless in an emergency, in which case they must be kept under control on the verge. Ensure that reflective jackets are worn where possible. For safety reasons, warning triangles must not be displayed on the hard shoulder. We advise passengers to retreat from the carriageway, up the embankment or behind a barrier when available, and children must be supervised at all times. Don’t attempt any repair work on the hard shoulder and never try to cross the carriageway.

Call for assistance

Once you have reached a safe destination, call your breakdown provider using either a mobile phone or an emergency phone. Try to provide them with marker post numbers or emergency motorway telephone numbers to speed up the recovery process. Emergency phones will connect you directly to the police or Highways Agency free of charge. Give them the details of your location and the incident if applicable and do not forget to mention if you are a vunerable motorist. It is vital that if you feel at risk from another person, you return to your vehicle via the passenger door, locking all doors and only leaving the vehicle once the danger has passed. Once your vehicle is repaired and it is safe to rejoin the carriageway, you must build up sufficient speed on the hard shoulder, waiting for a gap in the traffic whilst remaining aware of any other vehicles using the hard shoulder.

Be smart

In the case of smart motorways (where the hard shoulder has been converted to a traffic lane) try to leave the motorway at an emergency refuge area, services or at the next junction. If you have no choice but to stop in a live lane of traffic, signal to other drivers by using your hazard warning lights and if in the left hand lane, exit your vehicle via the passenger door. If you cannot exit the vehicle, keep your seatbelt on, dial 999 and the police or Highways Agency will close the lane you are occupying.

Breakdowns on other roads

If you have broken down, ensure your vehicle is off the road where possible then warn other traffic using your hazard warning lights and sidelights if visibility is poor. Remember to also wear a reflective jacket when available. If you suspect your vehicle is causing an obstruction and may be struck, ensure all passengers are out of the vehicle and away from traffic. Place a warning triangle at least 45 metres (50 yards) behind your vehicle and do not stand between your vehicle and oncoming traffic or prevent other road users from seeing your lights. Following this, contact your breakdown provider, wait for assistance and once they have attended your vehicle, do not forget to retrieve your warning triangle.

Road safety is a serious issue, and we at the WMS Group advise you to minimise the risk of traffic collisions and breakdowns by regularly maintaining your vehicle. To ensure that you have a comprehensive warranty plan and breakdown cover in place, please contact us on 0800 043 0917 and we will be happy to discuss the available options.

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