At this time of year, traffic jams can be frequent. With an increase in people staycationing due to the pandemic, there will be even more vehicles on the roads doing long journeys, and so the chance of traffic jams and motor breakdowns will be higher than normal. Some vehicles haven’t been used for a while due to lockdown, which is also having an effect on the number of summer breakdowns.
As a result, there may be a longer wait than normal in getting assistance. In addition, recovery operators aren’t legally allowed to use a hard shoulder to bypass traffic, and so they can also be stuck in traffic jams whilst trying to provide help.
There are a few actions that you can take to prevent a breakdown happening, which is especially important if your vehicle has been off the road during lockdown.
Before you set-off:
- Check your wheels and tyre pressures. You’ll need them to be pumped up if carrying a heavier load than normal, such as suitcases and sports gear
- Make sure your oil is topped up
- Working brakes are critical, so make sure that your brake pads, disks and brake fluid levels are as they should be – and it’s worth monitoring your engine temperature and coolant levels as well
- Check that your battery is in full working order. You can get it tested free of charge in most garages
- Make sure you’ve got a spare tyre or a tyre repair kit in the boot, as applicable
- Ensure that you have enough fuel in the tank to get you to your destination. A number of breakdowns can be as a result of no fuel, especially when sat in a long traffic jam
Carry water and food in the car so that you can stay hydrated and energised
In the unfortunate event that you do break down, move off the road or pull over to the left-hand side of the road/hard shoulder, if you can. Put your hazard lights on and leave the car through the nearside doors (the doors that are furthest from the road). Take what you need and move away to a safe space away from the car and road, over a barrier if there is one, and then call for breakdown assistance.