How you can help to avoid Breakdowns
Cars nowadays are very reliable and it's easy to believe that a breakdown will never happen to you. For all too many motorists, though it becomes a reality and very unpleasant one indeed. A breakdown can be frustrating, frightening and even potentially dangerous. However unpleasant it is to think about it, effective preparation for such an eventuality can reduce its potential impact and consequences.
A starting point to reduce the impact of a breakdown or prevent one altogether is to ensure your car is well maintained.
Check that all the fluids required by your car are at the correct level.
Make sure your tyres are at the correct pressure and inflate or deflate them to the correct level as appropriate. Look for any visible damage or bulges in the tyres and replace as necessary.
Another measure you can take is to buy a warning triangle - if your car doesn't have one on the inside of the boot lid - and a reflective jacket and keep them in the car - your car's manual should be kept in the car or at least take it with you on a journey.
Have a torch and spare batteries available and some drinking water. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and you have plenty of credit left.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a breakdown, the actions to take depends to a large extent on where the breakdown occurs, the time of day and the weather conditions. As a general principal though, all actions should aim to ensure the safety of the car's occupants and other traffic.
If your car starts to malfunction on a motorway, attempt to get to the hard shoulder as quickly as possible, activate your hazard warning flashers to warn other motorists. Try to stop as close as possible to an emergency phone. Pull over as far as possible to the edge away from the traffic. Switch on your parking lights if visibility is poor or at night. Don't leave the dipped beams on, in order to conserve your battery. Turn your wheels to the left in case the car is struck from behind by another vehicle, then vacate the vehicle as quickly as practical using the doors furthest from the carriageway. Do not remain in the car even if the weather is bad - people have been killed doing so when their car was hit. Get all your passengers as far away from the vehicle as possible. Don your reflective jacket if available. If you have a warning triangle inside your boot lid, then open the boot. If you have a separate one, place it behind the car, but only if it is safe to do so. Use the emergency telephone to request assistance.
If possible, attempt to stop your vehicle on a straight stretch of road or somewhere where the car is visible from a distance. Avoid if possible stopping on a bend or a brow of a hill. If you are on a hill, attempt to coast to a safe distance if it is safe to do so. Consider safely positioning yourself to warn oncoming vehicles. Place your warning triangle 45metres or 147 feet behind your vehicle.
If you can get your vehicle out of the traffic stream to avoid causing an obstruction. Call the police if necessary as their traffic vehicles should be able to tow you to a safe place where the car doesn't cause an obstruction.
Keep your car well maintained can reduce the likelihood that you will suffer a breakdown. Good preparation can reduce the ill - effects if you are unlucky enough to have one.
Another precaution worth considering is to subscribe to a reputable breakdown organisation and take advantage of