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Be Breakdown Smart


Car breakdowns can come out of the blue; certainly sometimes the car gives some sort of advanced warning, with smoke or a noise but what does a driver do if the car suddenly feels out of control? A shock blow-out of a tyre at seventy miles per hour on a motorway or a major mechanical fault both require a certain clarity of mind from the motorist. In short, expect the worse and be prepared. Sure, a blown tyre is fairly uncommon in these high-tech days unless the rubber hoops are in poor condition, but, it does still happen. Time to get off the road, fast.


Action Stations

Thankfully, modern technology ensures that the vehicle’s stability control system will have kicked in, but the driver still needs to keep calm and carry on by signalling intentions, move over to the hard shoulder as far off the main carriageways as is possible. That’s the procedure but the occupants are still not truly safe.

With traffic hurtling by at high speeds, it can present a problem if other drivers don’t see the ill-fated motor and have little time to react; this is especially true in poor visibility or if they themselves are distracted. Many people have been injured or killed while at the side of the road with a breakdown, which means prompt action must be taken to avoid becoming a roadside emergency statistic.

It is the potential for disasters like these that we have regulations regarding car servicing and fitness for the road; hence the MOT. A motorway shake-up is a wake-up call. Neglect a car and be in peril.


A Major Breakdown

Like ears, everybody has a smartphone these days, or so it seems. Today’s cars may also be connected direct to one or other roadside assistance service via the dashboard, but for the rest of we motorists without the latest high-tech gadgets, a fully-charged mobile phone can bring help fast. It’s even possible to set up an an emergency quick dial to contact an individual breakdown service. If all else fails, call the cops or use the nearest motorway emergency phone. This will have a number so that the emergency services or tow truck can pinpoint the location.


Where In The World

Even in the modern world, sometimes we don’t know precisely where we are. You might be en route to a holiday destination in the middle of nowhere, following a sat-nav without any real idea of location. Nearby landmarks can help, but let’s face us, much of our countryside looks the same, doesn’t it? Fortunately, mobile operators can often help identify the precise location down to a general area, such as between two of its towers, but other motorway markers can help as well. Exit signage and other descriptive information such as cameras can also be a guide. A good smartphone should have a GPS locator, which can pinpoint exactly where in the world the car is stranded.


Safety Triangle

Once, every single motorists had a reflective warning triangle in the boot but not so much these days. In some European countries they are mandatory. This makes absolute sense.

If a car breaks down at night or at a time of the day when visibility has been reduced, then there’s a need to alert other drivers. Emergency triangles should be placed several hundred yards away, ideally well before motorists come upon the vehicle. Otherwise keep as far over to the left as possible and, crucially, all passengers should evacuate the car and move away up the banking. Do not loiter on the hard shoulder; that makes for a soft target for an unwitting driver.


The Solution

Nobody can predict the future with any degree of certainty but a qualified mechanic can provide some clues of possible outcomes that are conceivable just down the road. That is why the MOT test has advisories; it might not be crucial now, but it is going to be. Have a little faith in the local garage. Don’t wait for a warning light, get the car checked out now. From a garage in Bracknell to a car service centre in John O’Groats is where the breakdown solution lies.

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