As the days get shorter and colder, motorists are being offered advice on what they should do if they breakdown.

The experts at have put together their tips to give drivers a helping hand if they find themselves ground to a halt.

Advice varies slightly depending on whether cars are on the motorway or driving in the countryside, but the overriding rule is to find somewhere safe to stop.

Among other advice is to get out of the vehicle and ensure the car is visible to others on the road.

Tim Alcock from said: “Breaking down can be overwhelming particularly if it’s cold, the weather conditions are poor and you’re not sure where you are.

“The general rules are to pull over somewhere safe and to make sure the vehicle is visible to other road users. If you have breakdown cover, call them to get the recovery in process.

“What you do next very much depends on where you’ve broken down and how vulnerable you and your passengers feel.”

Here is’s breakdown advice:

Stop safely

It’s important to get your car off the road, if you can, to avoid obstructing traffic and causing any unnecessary incidents. That can be harder on a motorway but where possible pull off at the next exit or onto the hard shoulder, stopping as far to the left as you can.

Make your car visible

Your car needs to be visible to other motorists, particularly if it’s dark or the weather conditions are poor. Make sure hazard lights are on and sidelights if it’s dark or foggy. Do not put a warning triangle out – the priority is to get off the road.

Stay safe

The advice is to get out of your car using the doors furthest away from the traffic and wait behind a barrier. If you’re on a motorway, try and move up a bank where possible. Leave any animals in the car.

Be seen
if you have high vis jackets or waistcoats, put them on so you’re seen.

Warning triangles

If you’re on a motorway, do not use a warning triangle – your priority is to get away from traffic. If you’re on a quieter road and it’s safe, a triangle can be placed at least 45m behind your vehicle.

On a smart motorway

Smart motorways use technology to manage and keep an eye on the flow of traffic. The hard shoulder may be used as an extra lane, so if you breakdown and can’t get off the road, pull into one of the emergency refuge areas. If it’s safe, get out of the car. If you breakdown in a live lane, stay in the car with your seatbelt on and call for help.

In a city

Try to find a safe spot and put on your hazard lights. Open the bonnet if you can to show others you’ve broken down and you’re not just waiting by the side of the road.

In the countryside

If you are not causing an obstruction, there’s no need to put your hazard lights on. Instead stay in your car until recovery arrives. If you feel at risk, lock the doors.

In a car park

This is one of the safest places to breakdown. Open your bonnet so the recovery vehicles can find you. If you don’t want to stay with your car, wait by the entrance and you can guide the breakdown team to your vehicle.