The long bank holiday break is here.
And for many of us, this means trying to unwind…stuck in miles upon miles of motorway traffic jams.
If you’re a new motorist, trust us, nothing will prepare you for this. But this situation can get even worse should your car break down – especially if you’ve got young children on board.
Fear not. Things aren’t as hopeless as they seem, thanks to our six-point survival plan:
This is paramount. Do this before anything else to give yourself the maximum chance of staying safe. Brake evenly and park as near to the hard shoulder verge as possible. But what if there’s no hard shoulder? This scenario is becoming increasingly common with the introduction of smart motorways. Attempt to get to a lay-by, or failing this, park as near to the left-hand-side of the motorway as possible
OK, so it’s going to be one of the lightest weekends of the year. But night falls even on the longest day, so leave your sidelights on after dark. And obviously leave your hazards on, whatever time of day or night. The same goes for you and your passengers too. Wear a high-visibility jacket once you step out of the vehicle.
Get out of the vehicle, even if it’s pouring down with rain. Your life is more important than catching a cold. Get on to a grass verge ASAP away from the possibility of a stray driver hitting your stationary vehicle. And remember to leave on the left-hand side, away from oncoming traffic. Leave dogs, cats or other animals inside though, unless you’re 100% sure you can prevent them from getting into mischief.
Who doesn’t have a mobile phone on them at all times nowadays? But having enough battery life or signal is another story. So take advantage of this country‘s network of motorway-side emergency phones. You can’t miss them, they’re bright orange. You’ll be connected to the helpful Highways England straight away free of charge and the agency will send help.
You might consider yourself a dab hand at DIY car mechanics. But now is not the time to play the hero. So don‘t even dream of going back to the car to try and solve the fault yourself, including tyre changing. There are too many hazards in place.
Once you’re sorted and ready to re-join the motorway, don’t pull out without taking maximum care. The chances are your mind might be slightly scrambled after your experience. So make sure your car gains momentum before you try edging back.