When Cars Break Down

When Cars Break Down

If you break down whilst driving alone, these guidelines may help to make it a less unnerving experience.

  • Do not panic.
    There are far more friendly people on the roads than those who would wish you harm.
  • Remain driving, if possible, until you are in safety.
    If the car is drivable, carry on if possible and stop where there are lights, houses, and a telephone. This may not be possible if your car fails completely or in extremely remote areas or on Motorways.
  • Immediately call for assistance.
    When calling for help from a public phone or a Motorways emergency telephone, stress the fact to the motoring organization or police, that you a female alone. They are all geared up to give you priority attention. Do not attempt any heroics on your own with fires: unless it is a very small fire which can be extinguished with your fire extinguisher - walk away and leave it.
  • Verify offers of help are genuine.
    If somebody offers help ask for assistance through a closed window unless you are sure they are trustworthy (e.g. Police, AA or RAC patrols). make a note of car numbers of others who offer to help or appear to be showing an interest in you. If you are on the telephone give the car number to the authority and let the driver know you have done so.
  • Ensure somebody knows your route and times
    Plan your journey properly and let somebody know your route and when you expect to arrive. If that person is person is somebody other than the person at you destination, do not forget to let them know you have arrived safely.
  • It is essential to remain with your car.
    Do not leave your car, do not start to walk, do not hitch a lift. If it is safe to do so remain inside your car and lock the doors and windows.
  • Anticipate the needs of your car.
    Keep your car in good order and before a journey make sure the daily checks are carried out, and that you have sufficient fuel for the journey. Always carry a touch, loose change, warm clothing/blanket, reflective jacket, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and pen and paper. Join one for the motoring organizations. You may also consider a personal attack alarm but don't forget to take it with you when you go for help.
  • Motorways need extra caution.
    Pull well over to the left of on the hard shoulder and try to stop near a emergency telephone. If you have to walk phones are placed ever mile, so the most you will have to walk will be half a mile. Every 100 meters there is a post with an arrow pointing to the nearest phone. Use to nearest one but remember you will be safest walking in the opposite direction to the traffic so you can watch out for danger from approaching vehicles. If you have to walk forwards keep glancing behind to keep an eye on traffic movements.
    After phoning return to your car and if circumstances allow, remain outside on the verge and out of sight of oncoming traffic. You will have to make your decision based on weather conditions, whether there is a grass verge or not or if you have children or elderly persons in the car. If you do remain in the car, try to be inconspicuous and sit in the front passenger seat to create the impression that you are not alone. It may be worth investing in a gentleman's hat or other articles of male clothing to further this illusion.
    You actually stand more chance of been injured or killed in an accident with your car parked on the hard shoulder than of being attacked.
    Remember that traffic will be traveling very fast. In fact, when you are on foot vehicle speed can be quite freighting and all vehicles will create are turbulence as they pass.

Remember DO NOT

  1. attempt any repairs yourself
  2. cross the carriageway under ANY circumstances
  3. walk anywhere other than on the inside of the hard shoulder or verge

Remember DO

  1. keep ALL the doors locked at ALL times
  2. keep valuables out of sight, even when you are driving
  3. keep your windows closed if you need to keep them open to keep cool, only open them a little bit
  4. get a mobile phone, they are very cheep to buy (20 or less) and cheep to have (12.99 per month plus calls)
  5. keep anything that may indicate this car is driven by a lady out of sight

This help and advice is given as a guide only and is issued by the IAM (GB)

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