What to do if you breakdown when driving alone

The risks of driving alone can be exaggerated. Be sensible about your safety but don't be afraid to drive on your own. To a large extent, peace of mind comes from confidence that the car won't let you down. Of course there are breakdowns that occur without warning, but most can be avoided, or the risks reduced substantially, by following a few simple rules.

What to do if you breakdown when driving alone

Avoiding a breakdown

  • Have the car serviced regularly by a reputable garage.
  • Don't run out of fuel. Get into the habit of filling when the tank's half empty rather than waiting for the warning light.
  • Check oil, water, and other fluids regularly. Your car’s manual will show you how, and specify the products to use if topping-up is required.
  • Check tyre condition and pressure regularly. The manual will tell you the correct pressure. Damaged or excessively worn tyres should be renewed. Don't forget to check the spare.
  • Attend to any faults promptly by a reputable garage, rather than waiting for them to get worse or hoping they'll go away.
  • If a warning light stays on, check the manual for advice. In some circumstances you can drive on safely.

Don't get lost

  • Plan unfamiliar journeys and try to stick to main roads.
  • In-car navigation systems help if you worry about getting lost. Keep an map handy in case traffic forces a change of plans.

In case of breakdown

  • Carry a mobile phone, ensure that it's charged and has sufficient call credit.
  • Keep a coat, sensible shoes, blanket, torch, and money in the car.
  • If possible drive on to a well lit, busy area such as a filling station rather than stopping in a dark, remote spot.
  • On motorways it's much safer to retreat up the bank, or behind a barrier rather than wait in the car. If you do feel at risk from another person, return to your vehicle by a left-hand door and lock all doors. Leave your vehicle again as soon as you feel this danger has passed.
  • Keep doors locked while waiting for help.

Alex Todd Brand Manager at Easyinsure commented "Much of the technology nowadays in cars is safety-oriented, and much of it we take for granted. But the fact remains that some of the best tips are still the most basic: a topped-up fuel tank, well maintained car, a proper map, someone knowing where you’re going and someone expecting you on the other end."


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