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Motorists: is your vehicle 'summer ready'? - 12 August 2016

With the school holidays in full swing and the warm weather set to stick around for the next few days at least, the Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire and West Mercia is reminding motorists to be prepared for any long journeys and stay safe in the event of a breakdown.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead this summer and avoid unnecessary breakdowns by ensuring their vehicle is well-maintained before setting out on any long journeys. As well as checking to make sure the vehicle service is up to date, motorists should check tyre pressures and oil, water and fuel levels and top those up if needed. With temperatures expected to stay high for the next few days, motorists should carry plenty of water, food and other essentials such as sunglasses and sunscreen.

With many people taking to the roads for long drives to their summer holiday destinations, motorists are reminded to avoid driving when tired. On longer journeys, plan your route to include a 15 minute break every two hours.

The partnership is also asking motorists if they know what to do in a breakdown and urging them to follow some simple steps to ensure they stay safe, particularly when travelling on motorways.

Anna Higgins, Communications Manager at the Safer Roads Partnership said "Breaking down can be a stressful experience, especially on a motorway where traffic is passing at very high speeds. It is vital that motorists know what to do if their vehicle does breakdown, to keep themselves and their passengers safe.

"If your vehicle breaks down on the motorway, pull on to the hard shoulder as far to the left as possible with your wheels turned to the left, and put your hazard lights on to warn other motorists. If visibility is poor, you should also leave your side lights on. You and your passengers should exit the vehicle on the left hand side and move to a point of safety behind the barrier and well away from the vehicle, the carriageway and the moving traffic. If possible, move up the bank or verge, as far away from the hard shoulder as possible."

Additional advice for a motorway breakdown includes:

  • While you are waiting, stay aware of the oncoming traffic.
  • Stand behind a barrier when safe to do so.
  • You must leave any animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under proper control on the verge.
  • Never attempt to place a warning triangle on the motorway.
  • Do not put yourself in danger by attempting even simple repairs.
  • Find your nearest emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway and call for assistance. The marker posts at the side of the motorway help give an exact location of your vehicle and also show the direction of the nearest telephone. The telephone is free and connects directly to Highways England or police who will be able to contact your chosen breakdown company.
  • If you do use your mobile phone, take a note of the number of the nearest marker post - it will help to pinpoint where you are on the motorway.
  • Wait for assistance, but remember to wait behind the barrier and as far away from the carriageway as possible.
  • If you cannot get your vehicle on to the hard shoulder, switch on your hazard lights and do not attempt to place any warning device on the carriageway. Leave your vehicle only when you can safely get clear of the carriageway.