The first thing to think about is avoiding breaking down altogether. That may sound obvious, but when was the last time you had your car serviced, checked the tyres for wear and tear, checked the tyre pressures, the oil and coolant levels and all those avoidable little things that can lead to a breakdown? If that’s really not your thing, almost everyone knows someone who loves this kind of checking – normally a fella – don’t be embarrassed to ask. If not there’s always your dealer or maybe a local garage who will help.
And of course – you would never drive around without checking what one of those annoying little warning lights on the dashboard means – would you?
Cars are like people: most of them have a bad day now and again and sometimes all the love, care and attention in the world won’t stop it happening, so be prepared:
If you suddenly hear a strange clunk, spot smoke coming from the back of your car, steam from the front or you lose power altogether, DON'T PANIC! Check your mirror, indicate and pull over in as safe a place as you can. Put on your hazard lights. If you need to get out of the car, consider getting out on the pavement or hard shoulder side away from the traffic if necessary.
If you are not out of the flow of traffic, warn the police with a phone call if you can. Do your best to warn other drivers if it’s safe to do so. If you have a warning triangle (most modern cars have them concealed in the boot under a carpet or in with the toolkit) and it’s safe to put it out, place it in the road 45 metres (50 yards) or so behind your vehicle.