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Car accidents » Hard shoulder safety

Thousands of people break down each year on motorways, and knowing what the best thing to do when using the hard shoulder could prevent you being involved in a car accident.It is dangerous parking a car close to very fast-moving and busy traffic and consequently many road traffic accidents do happen in this situation.

If you think there is something wrong with your car whilst you are driving on a motorway, try to turn off at the next exit or service station, if possible.If you need to stop sooner than that, pull onto the hard shoulder, preferably near a motorway telephone, and use the hard shoulder to decelerate.

Be aware that there may well be debris from car accidents and previous breakdowns on the hard shoulder that you may need to avoid, and pull over to your left as far away from the carriageways as possible, with your wheels turned towards the verge.

Safety advice for the hard shoulder

1 in 6 motorway deaths can be attributed to hard shoulder car accidents, so here are some tips on how to stay safe on the hard shoulder:

  • Turn on your hazard lights immediately, and if there is poor visibility, use your side lights in addition.
  • Always exit and enter the car from the passenger side to avoid having to go any nearer to the traffic than you have to.
  • Do not try to repair the car, no matter what the problem is. It is much safer to call for assistance.
  • Make a call to your rescue company from one of the emergency phones that are spaced every mile, so you know you are never more than half a mile away from one.There are arrows on roadside markers to show you which way the closest telephone is located. Never cross the carriageway to get to a telephone.
  • You can use your mobile phone to call your rescue company, but it is preferable to use one of the emergency telephones so they can pinpoint your exact location.
  • In case of a car accident, try not to wait in your car for the breakdown recovery company.It is safer for you and your passengers to wait behind the crash barrier (if there is one) and to move up the bank.
  • If you feel threatened, wait for the recovery company in the passenger seat of your car and lock all of the doors.If someone approaches, open your window slightly, and tell them that a breakdown company are on the way.Do not accept any offers of a lift.

Here are some things you might want to carry with you in case of a breakdown:

  • A spare blanket or coat to keep warm at the roadside
  • Walking shoes
  • A torch
  • Water
  • A mobile phone

Involved in a car accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault whilst you were broken down, we can help you get compensation.

Our personal injury solicitors, all Law Society accredited, work on a no cost, no win, no fee to secure the compensation to which you are entitled.

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