For many families, summer holidays are the most exciting time of year but hitting motorways and major roads at such a busy time can lead to frustration, breakdowns and accidents.
Highways England are expecting to respond to an extra 700 breakdowns a week for the next ten weeks, taking the average number of motorway breakdowns each week to almost 5,000.
The government agency, which is responsible for running England’s motorways and major A road network, has launched a new safety campaign encouraging drivers to remember the basics of motorway driving, including what to do if you break down.
Around a quarter of summer breakdowns are caused by punctures or other tyre issues. Vehicles running out of fuel and engines overheating are also other common reasons for breakdowns on motorways.
Highways England is advising drivers that regular car checks help avoid breakdowns:
- Tyres – before setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit;
- Engine oil - use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual;
- Water - to ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen;
- Lights - if your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MoT;
- Fuel - before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination.
Here are five basic safety tips to follow if your car does break down on a motorway:
- Get away from the traffic: exit the motorway or get to an emergency area or hard shoulder and use the free phone provided;
- If that’s not possible, move left onto the verge;
- Get out of the left side of your car and behind the barrier if you can and it is safe to do so;
- Get help – contact your breakdown provider or Highways England on 0300 123 5000;
- If you break down in moving traffic and cannot leave your car, keep your seatbelt and hazard lights on and call 999.
To book your pre-holiday safety check, call Worcester’s Mobile Mechanic on 01905 358217 or complete our online contact form.