Here are our tips about how to stop safely and call for help.
On the motorway having a hard shoulder
You must not stop on the hard shoulder to:
go to the toilet
use a cellphone
check a route or map
If an emergency forces one to stop:
Pull on to the hard shoulder and prevent as far to the left as you can with the wheels turned on the left.
Leave your sidelights on and switch on the hazard warning lights.
Get out of the vehicle by the left-hand door and make sure that all your passengers perform the same.
Leave animals from the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep these under proper control on the verge.
In case you have reflective jackets in the vehicle wear them. Do not use a warning triangle on the hard shoulder.
make sure that passengers keep away from the carriageway and hard shoulder, and that kids are kept manageable. It is best to retreat up the bank, or behind a barrier if this is possible.
Don’t attempt even simple repairs.
Driver location sign
Driver location sign
Calling for help
Once within a safe place use a mobile phone to call the AA (for AA breakdown call 08457 887766), making sure you can describe your local area – watch out for the new Driver Location Signs which will help us pinpoint your physical location and direction of travel, or there are actually reference numbers on all telephones and marker posts.
If you have a smart phone you can download the AA App which uses the GPS function on the phone to get the your exact location. Using the simple touch of an icon both the call and the location are moved to the AA Control Centre.
If you don’t have a mobile walk with an emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway – never make an attempt to cross the carriageway. Adhere to the arrows in the posts at the rear of the hard shoulder – the cell phone is free and connects right to the police/Highways Agency. Give full details on the police and tell them should you be a vulnerable motorist, such as a woman travelling alone.
Get back to your vehicle by way of a left-hand door and lock all doors if you feel at risk from somebody else. Leave your car again the instant you feel this danger has passed.
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Rejoining the carriageway
Before rejoining the carriageway, build up speed in the hard shoulder and watch for the safe gap in the traffic. Be aware that other vehicles might be stationary around the hard shoulder.
If you can’t get across to the hard shoulder
Stopping on a running lane is quite dangerous.
Switch on your hazard warning lights.
Don’t make an effort to place any warning device on the carriageway.
Leave the car only when you can safely get clear of the carriageway.
If you have a disability which prevents you from after the above then stay in your car or truck, keep your seatbelt on, switch on your hazard warning lights and use a cell phone, if you have one, to contact the emergency services.
The location where the hard shoulder has been converted for use as a permanent traffic lane if you wish to stop in desperate situations on Smart motorways:
Work with an emergency refuge area, motorway service area or leave at the next junction.
If it is safe to do this if this is difficult try and get the vehicle off the carriageway.
If you have no choice but to avoid in a live lane;
use hazard warning lights to assist other drivers see you
if you are in the left hand lane which is safe to do this, exit the automobile via the left-hand door.Wait behind the barrier if possible.
Do not feel it can be safe to do so or there is no other host to relative safety, stay in the automobile, if you cannot exit the vehicle. Keep your seat belt on and dial ‘999’.
As soon as the Highways Agency is alerted, the regional control centre will use the signals to seal affected lanes to protect you while you wait for help to arrive.
Lanes may also be closed to allow access for emergency vehicles, which can be any lane.
On other roads
If possible and warn other traffic through the use of your hazard warning lights, particularly if your car is causing an obstruction, obtain your vehicle from the road.
When you have a reflective jacket, place it on.
In case you have any fear that your vehicle may be struck by other traffic make all your passengers get out of the automobile and get well away from the traffic. Question whether it is safe so that you can fix the car or whether you need specialist help.
If it is safe and you have one, put a warning triangle or any other permitted warning device on your way at least 45 metres (50 yards) behind your divided vehicle on the same side from the road. Always take great care when conducting this.
Make your sidelights on if it is dark or visibility is poor.
Usually do not stand (or let anybody else stand), between your vehicle and oncoming traffic.
At nighttime or in poor visibility tend not to stand where you will prevent other road users seeing your lights.
Make use of your mobile phone, the AA App or any other available phone to contact the AA (For AA breakdown call 0800 887766 or, if calling from the mobile, 08457 887766.)
If you have used a stern warning triangle make sure to retrieve it, with care, when the breakdown has finished.
The AA had been a founder an affiliate SURVIVE, a team of people, organisations and agencies dedicated to the promotion of driving safety.
SURVIVE is actually a partnership between your Highways Agency who are responsible for managing the motorway network, the Association of Chief Law Enforcement Officers, the breakdown/recovery industry, along with other road service providers.
SURVIVE has become established to boost the safety of those people who work on the road network and also the travelling public.
If you breakdown on a motorway, the SURVIVE group has published a handy leaflet Surviving hard Shoulder which summarises best practice advice on what you should do. Why not print a copy and keep it handy inside the glovebox of your car?