Posted by Ronan Kelly Services

How to handle a car breakdown

Breakdowns mostly happen when their least expected and are always a pain. However, if you could do some preparation you can make life easier for yourself. The situation, of course, does slightly vary depending on where this breakdown happens and what’s available or not available in the vicinity. For instance, it may be an issue getting a signal on a remote road, whereas you getting out of the way of oncoming traffic will be a pressing matter on a motorway. The priority, of course, is always to get your car started again, but mainly to stay safe and get home in one piece.

Heres some tips concerning Motorways and Dual Carriageways:

  1. If you can, pull into the hard shoulder as soon as possible. Put your hazard lights and your side lights on and then point your front wheels away from the road.
  2. If you have a visibility vest, wear it. Visibility vests are relatively cheap and don’t take up much storage space so it’s a good idea to get a few and leave them in the car.
  3. Exit your vehicle on the left-hand side, away from the traffic on the road. Be safe and stay away from the fast-moving cars on the other side! Make your way up the embankment and if there is a barrier, climb over it if possible. You and your passengers should stay well away from the hard shoulder.
  4. Don’t attempt to make any repairs on the car, no matter how small they seem to be. Plenty of people have warning triangles in their car, BUT you should not attempt to place this behind your car on the motorway. There will be cars speeding by and it’s risky to even attempt it.
  5. Call the local authorities. If you do this from your mobile phone, they will need to know your location. If you use one of the roadside SOS phones on the motorway network, they will automatically know your location. Next contact your breakdown service.
  6. If the repair services can get you back up and running there and then, that’s great but be very careful when it comes to re-joining the motorway. You’ll need to build up your speed on the hard shoulder before merging into traffic. Be aware too though that other vehicles may have stopped on the hard shoulder.
  7. If for some reason you are unable to follow the above advice, you should stay in your vehicle with your safety belt securely fastened and switch on your hazard lights. Then, as above, call 999 and wait for assistance. You should also contact your breakdown service provider to let them know.


And then for more minor roads:

  1. If you can, pull over to a safe place. Some national roads have a hard shoulder, but if there isn’t one, pull over as far left as you can.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights and if the light is poor or visibility is low, turn on your side lights also.
  3. Although the cars will be passing a little slower than those on the motorway, you should still only get out of your car on the left-hand side of the road. Again, it’s better to be safe out there in the real world, so avoid those unnecessary dangers and prevent any issues occurring.
  4. Put on your high visibility vest and place your Red Warning Triangle 50 meters behind your car to alert oncoming traffic.
  5. In contrast to actions on the motorway, no matter where on the road you breakdown, be it in the middle of the road in the city centre or out on a narrow country road, you should get back in your car once you’ve put out your triangle. That’s the safest place to be.
  6. Once in your car, ring the Gardaí for assistance and then call your breakdown service provider to let them know.

You now should be ready for any breakdown! Even longtime drivers may benefit from familiarizing themselves with the above. And also don’t forget all Liberty car insurance policies come with 24/7 breakdown assistance with Home Start as standard and it won’t affect your no claims bonus.


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