Between the months of June and September, breakdown responders are at their busiest. With thousands of people desperate to reach their holiday destinations, some safety checks are missed before setting off on their journey.
It was recorded that between these months in 2018, there were over 48,500 motorway breakdowns. Highways England has stated that they are expecting a further increase on that number this year and in an effort to try to reduce it, they’ve started a campaign to remind drivers of the basics.
Did you know that about a quarter of summer breakdowns on the motorway are caused by tyre punctures or other tyre-related issues? It’s true. Which is why one of the most important things you can do before leaving your home is check your tyres. Checking your tread depth is the legal average, 1.6mm, is essential as well as looking for any other signs of wear.
Interestingly enough, tyres are even more dangerous during the summer weather as the temperature affects the pressure within the tyres. Be careful not to over inflate. It may look safe when the car is parked but, once moving, the pressure continues to build. You should also look out for tyres which are bulging due to heat.
You should be checking your dipstick before every long journey. If you feel you are re-filling your car more often than usual, it’s best to take it to the garage to avoid any damage to your engine. If you don’t have a significant amount of oil in your car before a long journey, it’s a hazard and can cause your engine to work below its normal standard.
It’s a common part of the car to check. During the winter months, we keep our cars topped up with screen wash in the case of grit or dirty water being splashed onto our windscreens. But this is actually an important factor to check before summer journeys also. You’d expect minimal wet weather in the summer, so might not think about visibility, but we are in the UK, so you can’t be sure of anything. There are many dangers that come with dry weather, dusty roads can also be a major cause of reduced visibility, but even small debris and dirt is not something you want building up.
It’s important to keep water within your car to keep hydrated on your journey. Dehydration can cause reduced focus and you wouldn’t want lack of fluid to be the reason you potentially put yourself and others in danger.
Taking two minutes to quickly make sure all of your exterior lights are in working order is important if you’re driving during the day or night. Indicators and brake lights need to be visible during use 24/7.
As well as your exterior lights, double checking the lights on your dashboard is also important. These lights can direct you to any engine or inner vehicle faults that you are checking for, so don’t wait until you’re halfway down the road to glance down at them.
The simplest of functions to check. Look at the length of your journey and make sure you have enough fuel to get you there. A part that some people forget to take into consideration is that you burn fuel when in traffic. So always take this into account when filling your car up before a journey. It may be worth double checking how often services appear on your trip so you can plan in advance where you can stop if you do get low on fuel.
What to if you do breakdown
If, despite all of your checks you do end up breakdown on the motorway, try to remember EGG.
Finding a safe route off the motorway would be ideal, but as long as you’re out of the main traffic you are safe. Whether this is in an emergency area, hard shoulder or safely moving towards the left verge.
Exit your car via the left-hand side and move behind a barrier if possible. Equally, walking up a small hill so you are safely away from your car is a safe alternative.
Call either a breakdown service or Highways England if you are on the side of the road and safe. If you were unable to get out of the way of traffic, stay in the car, keep your seatbelt on and leave your hazards on before calling 999 right away.
Taking these steps before setting out on your journey will reduce the risk of breakdowns and the best part about it is, you’ll get to your destination quicker and without added hassle or stress. It’s the best way to ensure your trip starts and ends as pleasantly as the summer weather.
If you have been seriously injured on the road an require representation or advice, we could help you. Get in touch with our expert team at Lysander Law today.