The dos and don’ts for stopping on the motorways’ hard shoulders

What you need to know if your stopping on a hard shoulder

Stopping on the hard shoulder is never ideal but, in extreme circumstances, it can be unavoidable. Being conscious of the risks inherent in such a move is vital, as too is knowledge of exactly when and where you are able to make a stop. To help ensure you’re safe and secure when compelled to make a pitstop on the hard shoulder, we’re pleased to provide you with a number motorway tips.

1. Clearly indicate your intentions

According to research carried out by the Highways Agency, approximately 16% of hard shoulder collisions occur at the point motorists pull off the main motorway. This means that taking greater care over signalling your intentions is a must, so ensure you clearly indicate and gradually move to the left-hand side as you pull to a stop. Once stationary, immediately switch on your hazard lights.

2. Choose your stopping point wisely

Car breakdown tips are all well and good, but sometimes you simply don’t have control over your situation. If you are fortunate enough to be able to feel when a problem has arisen, you should pay attention to your surroundings and choose your stopping point wisely. UK motorways provide emergency phones on the roadside approximately every one mile, along with marker posts that identify your precise location on the road. This information will prove invaluable should you require breakdown services to come and find you.

3. Park safely

If you do find yourself with no choice but to use the hard shoulder, you should take every precaution when parking your vehicle to ensure you’re as clear as possible from potential danger. Park your vehicle as far to the left as you can, and always ensure that you’ve turned your steering wheel firmly to the left once you have come to a stop. Doing so means that, should there be a rear collision, your car will not be pushed out onto the main carriageway.

4. Make yourself visible

We’ve already identified the need to switch on your hazard warning lights as soon as you come to a halt, but it also pays to invest in a roadside warning triangle. Set this up some distance to the rear of your vehicle to alert other road users to your presence. In addition, purchasing a high-visibility jacket (which cost just a couple of pounds) will ensure you can be clearly seen once you step outside your vehicle.

5. Never stay in your car

It may well seem tempting to stay in your car once you have come to a halt - especially if you’re driving in inclement weather - but you must make sure you exit your vehicle while you wait for roadside assistance. Leave by the passenger door (on the left-hand side), and make your way to the other side of any crash barrier that is present. The reason for doing so is to ensure your safety should a collision occur.

For more tips and advice on safer motoring, contact the team at Carwise in Dunstable, Harlow, and Maidstone today. In addition to providing a range of quality used cars for you to test drive, we also support motorists with help and advice. Get in touch now for more information.