To bring awareness to this issue and to make motorways safer for drivers, Highways England have launched their biggest ever campaign, “Go Left”. The message of the campaign is to teach drivers what they should do if they encounter problems with their vehicle whilst driving and give them the confidence to act safely and efficiently.
Highways England Acting Chief Executive, Nick Harris, said: “No one plans to break down on a motorway, but if the unexpected happens then I want all motorists to know what to do so that they can keep themselves and others safe.”
Our latest blog post covers all you need to know about the “Go Left” campaign, as well as what you can do to minimise the risk of breakdown.
The “Go Left” Guidance
As the name suggests, the “Go left” campaign encourages drivers to move to the left of the motorway and into a safe place if they encounter a problem with their vehicle.
Guidance suggests that if drivers do get into trouble on a motorway, to stay calm and attempt to exit at the next junction. If, however, this is not possible, the “Go Left” guidance applies:
Put your left indicators on.
Move over into the left lane.
Enter the next emergency area, or hard shoulder.
Put your hazard lights on.
Get behind a safety barrier where there is one and be sure to keep well away from moving traffic.
Call Highways England on 0300 123 5000, and then a breakdown provider for help.
Stopping on a Motorway with a Hard Shoulder
If you need to stop on a motorway with a hard shoulder, you should still follow the “go Left” guidance:
Move left onto the hard shoulder.
Leave enough space so that you are able to safely exit your vehicle from the side furthest from traffic.
Switch your hazard warning lights on, even during the day. If it’s dark, use side lights and in poor visibility use fog lights.
If possible, try to stop near an emergency telephone which are spaced at approximately one-mile intervals along motorway hard shoulders. These free emergency telephones connect directly to one of many regional operation centres and will identify your location automatically.
Gather any items you may need, such as mobile phone, coat, hi-vis clothing, food, water and medication.
Exit the vehicle and step over the barrier as an extra measure of safety, away from moving traffic.
For both their safety and others, it is advised to keep pets in your vehicle as they may become scared and run into traffic, causing a collision. Only remove pets in an emergency and keep them under strict control behind the safety barrier where there is one.
Once all members of your party are safe, use an emergency telephone to report your breakdown. Alternatively, you can use your mobile phone to call Highways England on 0300 123 5000 if you are unable to exit your vehicle or get to a free emergency telephone.
Stopping on a Motorway with No hard Shoulder
When travelling on a motorway with no hard shoulder, you can expect to find emergency areas spaced regularly along the left-hand side. These areas are painted orange and are marked with blue signs which indicate the distance to the next emergency area.
Typically, when travelling at 60mph, drivers can expect to pass an emergency area every 90 seconds.
If you get into trouble on a motorway with no hard shoulder, you should attempt to move left towards the safety of an emergency area and continue to follow the “Go Left” guidance as above.
Remember to keep far away from moving traffic and be aware of any unseen hazards or uneven ground which could cause accidents.
Use either a free emergency telephone to contact an operator or use your mobile to contact your breakdown provider.
What To Do if You Break Down in a Live Lane
If you breakdown in a live lane or an area undergoing roadworks, try and get into the left-hand lane to maximise your safety.
If you are unable to get into the left lane or cannot exit your vehicle to get to a place of safety, remain in your vehicle, put on your hazard warning lights, and call 999.
The police will then alert Highways England, so they can work collaboratively to provide a timely response.
Some Things to Remember
When involved in, or witnessing a breakdown or collision, it is important to remember the following safety advice to prevent further accidents from occurring:
Do not stop your vehicle to assist another that has broken down or been involved in a collision. Instead, call Highways England or 999 for assistance.
Only use an emergency area or hard shoulder in an emergency.
Do not attempt any repairs on your vehicle as passing traffic may collide with you.
Keep far away from moving traffic as well as your own vehicle. Get behind a safety barrier where possible, and where it is safe to do so.
As well as regularly checking your vehicle, ensuring your car is regularly serviced and has a valid MOT test reduces the likelihood of your car breaking down on the road. Be sure to check when your annual service or MOT is due to avoid any potential future problems.
Book Your Next Service or MOT With Autocare Chepstow
Don’t risk breaking down on the motorway; book an all-encompassing service or MOT today.
For more information, or to talk to one of our expert team members, get in touch, or call us on 01291 627137.