Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how careful a driver you are or how well you look after your car, a breakdown will happen at some point. However, if you're prepared for this eventuality, it won't be such a big deal and you will ensure your safety.
Whether you're involved in an accident or your car simply dies, knowing what you can do to avoid causing an incident will make all the difference.
Here's how you should handle a breakdown:
Before you do anything else, you need to get your car off the road - or at least out of the way of traffic. If your car is having problems but is still running, pull over before it dies completely and put your hazard lights on. If your car has already stopped, put your hazard lights on and roll it carefully to the side of the road.
On a motorway, pull over to the hard shoulder as soon as you can, stopping as far to the left as possible.
You should have a breakdown kit in the boot of your car, which should include a warning triangle. This signals to other road users that there is a broken down car or incident up ahead so they can adjust their speed.
You should place the triangle at least 45 metres behind your car on the same side of the road. If you are on a motorway, you should not try and place the triangle. Be careful when you are putting the triangle in position in case other cars are coming. At night, you should be sure to use a torch to see where you're going and so you are visible to other drivers.
If visibility is poor or if you break down at night, it is important that you leave your car lights on so your vehicle can be seen by other drivers. Failure to do this could result in an accident, causing more damage to your car and possibly injuring people.
You should not stay in your vehicle if it has broken down, just in case it is struck by another car. Instead, be sure to lock your doors and walk a safe distance from your car. Leave the car by the left-hand door to avoid traffic and stay as far away from the road as you can.
It is a good idea to have a high-visibility jacket in your car breakdown kit to ensure that you can be clearly seen. Once out of your car, use your phone or locate an emergency phone to call for help. You should then wait outside of the car, making sure that you and your passengers are out of the way of traffic.
If you're travelling with animals, you should keep them in the car unless you know that you can keep them under control - such as if they are in a carrier. Be aware that waiting by a busy road is likely to cause anxiety for them, so they may be happier in the car while you wait for help.
You should not let animals out of the vehicle unless they have a lead, as loose pets could cause accidents.
By following these steps you can ensure that the breakdown situation is dealt with properly and safely.