Remember these four things when your car goes kaput

And it will happen. It may not be today, tomorrow, or even in a month’s time, but it will go BOOM. Cars do it, and therefore it’s an occupational hazard of being a motorist. Sometimes, the universe says you have to stand by the side of the motorway in the pouring down rain looking like an idiot. Thanks, the world.

When the worst happens, it’s crucial to react to limit the damage. Let’s face it – no one wants to sleep in their motor by the M25. To make the right decisions, you’ve first got to understand the basics. Here are four to write and memorise.

Safely get to the hard shoulder

Sitting in the middle lane while there is smoke billowing out of the engine is frightening. Cars are speeding past at 70mph and your vehicle can barely reach 30mph. What the hell are you going to do?! Wait a minute because the hard shoulder is over there. All isn’t lost.

Crashes happen on the motorway for many reasons, and trying to get to safety falls into this category. Always look and indicate before diving across two lanes of traffic. To make other drivers aware, put on the hazards and keep them on while stationary.

Call for help

You can put together flat pack furniture from Ikea; you can run a household on a tiny budget; you can even binge Netflix series. Still, what you can’t do is repair a car by the side of the road. More to the point, you shouldn’t want to be the hero. Fixing an engine on a busy road is nowhere near as simple as doing it in a quiet garage. For one thing, you have no idea where to start. For another, there is no telling what will happen if a wheel bounces across the lanes of traffic. So don’t mess around: this is the time to call a tow truck. Leave it to the professionals to get you back on the road.

But check out the situation first

So, this is going to contradict the last paragraph but it will all make sense in the end. Repairing certain problems by the side of the road is risky, swapping a tyre for example. But, some issues are pretty straightforward with the right equipment. Do the brakes feel a bit spongy? The best brake fluid tester kits should get them back to their previous self. Is there smoke coming from the engine? If there is, then a bottle of coolant may keep it running for a while longer. The point is that a repair kit in the boot can help you avoid long waiting times.

Get out

Sitting inside the car and waiting is tempting because it’s cold and wet and windy outside. However, the Highway Code recommends getting out and standing by the side of the road. The reasoning is simple: there may be a crash. Sometimes, the hard shoulder opens as a lane and traffic bombs down at 70mph. If you’re in the car and it gets hit, then you will be in serious trouble.

And, let’s be honest – breaking down is better than being in an accident right?

** This is a collaborative post

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