At least 250 people in the UK are injured every year on the hard shoulder after a breakdown. Thousands of people break down each year on the motorway and many accidents could be avoided if drivers and passengers follow simple safety guidelines. However, if it is at all possible and safe to do so you should always try to leave the motorway at the next junction or service station in the event of a breakdown.
Avoid any unnecessary activities – the hard shoulder is an extremely dangerous place to be with fast moving traffic in very close proximity. Therefore, don’t use the hard shoulder for any unnecessary activities like making a phone call, reading a map or going to the toilet. What until you can stop at a service station and remember that the hard shoulder is for emergency use and you should not stop on it unless it is an emergency or if you have been asked to pull over by the police.
Be aware of the dangers – as many as 12% of all fatal accidents on British motorways happen on the hard shoulder. The majority of these happen between 12 am and 6 pm.
Keep to the left – pull in as far over to the left as possible and make sure your wheels are turned to the left. This will mean that if you are unfortunate enough to be struck by another vehicle your car will be pushed further off the carriageway and not into the live traffic lane.
Exit on the left-hand side – get out of the car on the left-hand side to avoid being too close to fast-moving traffic.
Use the emergency telephones – each has a number and will help the police and breakdown service to quickly identify where you are. Emergency telephones are indicated by blue and white arrow markers which will point you in the right direction for the nearest one. If you are unable to get to an emergency telephone and have to use your mobile note the unique number on the nearest marker post.
Don’t accept lifts – and look out for anyone who looks suspicious.
Wait away from the car – you are seven times more likely to be involved in an accident if you wait in your car. Women especially often think they are safer waiting in the car but it’s better to wait on the banking away from any other vehicles. Keep the front passenger door (furthest away from the carriageway for safety) open. If you’re approached, you can get back in the car more easily. If this happens, lock the doors and speak to them with the window wound down slightly – but not enough for them to reach into the car.
If you have been involved in an accident on the hard shoulder you may be entitled to make a compensation claim and should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
We’ll talk through the details of your claim over the phone, and then advise further!
If we think you’ve got a valid claim, we’ll take care of everything else – quick & easy!