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6 breakdown tips for young drivers

Friday, October 23, 2020


For many young drivers, the prospect of breaking down on the side of the road can be hugely daunting. This can seem like the worst-case scenario for young drivers who are already lacking in confidence on the road.  What do you do? Who do you call? It’s not just young drivers who dread breaking down – this is a universal pet peeve for drivers of all levels.

Not to worry, we’re here to help. In the event of a breakdown, follow these six tips to make sure your car is back on the road quickly and with as little stress as possible.

1. Keep calm

Breaking down happens to most drivers at some point or another during their driving career. Although it can seem like a worrying experience, it’s really not that bad! Panicking won’t help the situation, so just take a few deep breaths and remain calm. Having a clear head in a situation like this will help you make smart decisions and get you back on the road as soon as possible.

2. Stop at a safe place

If the breakdown happens on a motorway, it’s important to take all the necessary precautions as this can be dangerous. Evaluate your surroundings and make sure everyone is safe. If you can make it to a safe, open area – such as car park, a service station or a garage, then try to do so. Otherwise, use the hard shoulder and pull in as far to the left as possible, away from the passing traffic. Pull up the handbrake, turn on the hazard lights and turn the steering wheel so the wheels are pointing to the left. This will ensure the car doesn’t roll into traffic. If it’s dark, rainy or foggy, turn on your side lights also. All passengers should exit the car from the passenger side and stand at a safe distance, behind a crash barrier if possible.

Although it is safer to break down on a quiet road, it may cause delays if oncoming cars are blocked from passing. Similar to breaking down on a motorway, try and find a safe place to pull in. Pull up the handbrake, turn on the hazard lights and turn the steering wheel so the wheels are pointing to the left and exit the car from the passenger side.

3. Make sure you are visible to oncoming traffic

If your car breaks down, it is important to make yourself as visible as possible, particularly if it’s dark, rainy or foggy. Even on a clear day, ensuring you can be seen by oncoming traffic is important for your safety. If you’re on a quiet road, place your warning triangle approximately 40 metres behind your car and put on a reflective jacket if you have one. If you break down on a motorway, do not attempt to put out your warning triangle: it’s not worth the risk with the speed that cars are travelling.

4. Call for help

Once you have pulled into a safe place and made sure you are visible to oncoming traffic, call your breakdown provider or the emergency services. Check if roadside assistance is covered in your car insurance policy as this will not only help to get your car fixed quickly, but it could also save you a lot of money.  Before making the call, make sure you are a safe distance away from the car (preferably behind a barrier) where you can safely use your mobile phone to call for assistance. If you are on the motorway and have no mobile phone or no signal, follow the signs and walk to the nearest emergency phone. The emergency phone will connect you directly to the Emergency Services Operations Centre who will be able to pinpoint your location and send the required assistance. Return to your car and wait for the emergency services to arrive.

5. Don’t try and repair the car yourself, wait for the experts to arrive

If you are a young driver and your first car breaks down, do not under any circumstances try and repair the car yourself. It’s unlikely that you are an automotive repair expert and tampering with the mechanics of the car can cause further damage to the car and can even cause serious injury if the engine is still hot. During a breakdown situation, your safety, as well as any passengers you may have, is the top priority. Wait patiently and safely until the recovery arrives and then follow their professional advice.

6. Bonus point – Invest in breakdown assistance with your car insurance provider

It’s a good idea to have some form of breakdown assistance included on your car insurance policy. This could save you a lot of money as well as getting your car fixed as soon as possible. Breakdown Assistance will provide you with roadside and home start support in the event of a breakdown. This will guarantee a seamless recovery with the aim of getting your car back on the road as quickly as possible.

At we want to make sure young drivers get the support they need in the event of the dreaded breakdown. Call us today on 01 231 9310 and we’ll make sure you’re covered! Alternatively Click Here, fill in some details and one of our Car Insurance specialists will call you back.