Car breakdowns: what to do and how to stay safe

There's never a good time to break down - here's how to mitigate that

A warning triangle on the road

by Cat Dow |
Updated on

These days, if your car breaks down, it’s not just annoying, it can be dangerous. Road traffic accidents account for 13% of all deaths in the UK and 60% of those occur on country roads. While the debate over whether motorway hard shoulders should become live lanes rattles on, 38 people died between 2014-2019 died in the pilot of smart motorways.

Winter is now upon us and with it comes the inclement weather which makes breaking down a whole lot worse. Roadside assistance and recovery services tend to advise drivers that have broken down to put their hazards on and find a safe place until help arrives.

If the car is driveable, you’ll be asked to move it out of the way of passing traffic—so much as is safe to do. If it isn’t, more often than not, you’ll be advised to get out of the car—a tall order in chilly temperatures and rain, especially with kids.

Related: Best emergency kits

With the emphasis on safety, how do you make sure you can be seen by other motorists? Are your hazards enough? And how do you avoid becoming one of the statistics above?

Being prepared will definitely make any breakdown a lot less stressful. It’ll help you manage kids, pets and other passengers, as well as keep your own mental health under control as you wait for roadside assistance and recovery services to rock up and rescue you.

Here’s a handy list of stuff to consider putting in the car, in case of emergency or breakdown.

Pack of 4 Pocket Torches
Price: £14.99


Light the way, we say! A torch never comes in wrong, provided it has batteries, of course. If you

Anker Power Bank, PowerCore Slim 10000 Portable Charger
Price: £22.99


Given driver predisposition to rely on mobiles for all kinds of tools and guidancesu2014watch,

Cocoon Travel Blanket CoolMax
Price: £36.64


Appropriate footwear and something warm to put around yourself, your kids, or older or injured


Itu2019s the UK. If the perpetual climate change chatter isnu2019t enough, you should definitely


Once youu2019re warm and are reassured that someone is on their way and can contact you if

AA Vehicle Breakdown Safety Kit Plus
Price: £34.99


These are [handy little

Maynards Bassetts Mint Favourites Sweets
Price: £18.24


This advice can divide families and break friendships, but itu2019s never a bad idea to keep

3 in 1 Travel Games

Rrp: £12.99

Price: £10.99


Depending on their age, children can make dealing with a breakdown significantly more stressful.

Yakers Dog Chew Medium 2 pack

Rrp: £11.99

Price: £10.99


Dogs, like kids, need a bit of entertaining after the novelty of being broken down wears off. If


Portable battery chargers

Winter driving kits

Best jerry cans

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