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Looking after your car and getting it serviced on a regular basis can significantly reduce the risk of breakdowns and help ensure it runs smoothly. However, there's always a possibility that something will go wrong when you're behind the wheel and breakdowns can happen when you least expect them. This means it’s crucial that you know what to do when disaster strikes – especially if you're on a motorway.

So that you’re up to speed on how to react in this type of emergency, keep reading. We’ve got some useful tips to help you stay safe and calm if you’re caught out at the roadside.

Firstly, it’s important that you move your vehicle to a safe place. If you suspect something is wrong with your car, the Highway Code states that you should try to turn off at the next junction or pull into a service area. However, if you are unable to do this, you will need to pull over onto the hard shoulder. When you move over to this emergency lane, it’s important that you park your vehicle as far to the left as possible, keeping your wheels positioned to the left too.

If you break down on a smart motorway, you will not have access to a hard shoulder as it will be being used for traffic. In this situation, you should try to get your vehicle to the next exit, whether you come off the motorway at the next junction or you pull into a service station. Alternatively, you could stop at an emergency refuge area (ERA). This is an area to the side of the road where motorists may pull into and stop. An ERA usually has a brightly coloured road surface.

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