Safe & Seen

brought to you by Comma

Comma is giving away 150,000 emergency high-visibility vests for FREE with 5-litre packs of its Performance Motor Oil.

Click here for more info

The Advice

Comma is urging all motorists to make sure they carry at least one high-visibility vest in the back of their car, in case of accident or breakdown in a vulnerable position - such as on the hard shoulder of a motorway.

It's especially dangerous if a breakdown occurs on the motorway at night or dusk, when visibility is so much poorer. This becomes even more of an issue during the autumn and winter months, when there are fewer daylight hours and commuters travel largely at times when visibility is poor.

There are some general procedures to follow if you do find yourself in this situation, and the most important thing to consider at all times is your safety and the safety of other road users.

    Motorway breakdown procedures

    It is extremely dangerous to stop on a hard shoulder except in an emergency. If an emergency forces you to stop, then follow these safety tips:

  • Pull onto the hard shoulder and park as far left as possible, near an emergency roadside telephone if you can.
  • Turn on your vehicle's hazard warning lights.
  • Leave your vehicle immediately via the left hand door. Make sure your passengers do the same.
  • You should leave any animals in the vehicle.
  • Contact the Highways Agency via the emergency roadside telephone. (Always use this in preference to a mobile phone, as your location will be pinpointed on the operator's screen so it will be easier to find you. On the motorways, you will see these spaced at one mile intervals, with roadside parkers displaying an arrow pointing you in the direction of the nearest phone.)
  • Wait well away from the carriageway and hard shoulder for help to arrive. You should never attempt even the simplest of repairs.
  • Wear your high visibility vest to ensure you are easily seen by other road users and emergency services.

If you feel at risk from another person, return to your vehicle via the left hand door, fasten your seatbelt and lock all the doors. Leave your vehicle again as soon as you feel the risk has passed.

If you have a disability which prevents you from following the above advice, the Highway Code advises that you should stay in the vehicle, switch on your hazard warning lights and display a "help" pennant. If you have a mobile phone you should dial 999 and advise the emergency services of your location.

    If you cannot get your vehicle onto the hard shoulder the Highway Code advises that you:
  • Do not attempt to place any warning device on the carriageway.
  • Switch on your hazard warning lights.
  • Leave your vehicle only when you can safely get clear of the carriageway.