What To Do If Your Van Breaks Down While Driving
- Created: 20 July 2021
Many van drivers spend lots of time on motorways and dual carriageways as part of their job. Having any driver van insurance means that any member of your team can drive the van and so it's a good idea to make sure everyone who drives your van can stay safe in some of the most frequent emergencies.
Knowing what to do if your van has a problem while driving on the motorway or dual carriageway is really important. Here's our van breakdown guide.
Don't ignore a warning light
When a warning light comes on, it's important not to panic, but not to ignore it either. Many of us are unlikely to know the meaning of every warning light that comes on in our vans, so it's always a good idea to stop as soon as it's safe to do so, so you can check out what the light means and what you need to do.
If you feel there is a problem with your van while you are driving, for instance brake issues, loss of power steering, deceleration, or unresponsiveness, you need to get your vehicle off the road as safely and quickly as you can. If possible, drive to the next exit, service station or designated Parking spot.
If this is not possible, follow the advice of the Highways England commercial and "Go Left". To do this safely, you should stay calm and do the following:
- Put your left indicator on.
- Using your mirrors, move safely into the left lane.
- Move steadily across to the emergency area, hard shoulder or verge if it is safe to do so.
- Put your hazard warning lights on.
- Exit your vehicle through the left-hand door and keep away from moving traffic – stay behind the safety barrier if there is one.
- Call Highways England then your breakdown assistance provider.
If you have stopped in live traffic
If your van has broken down in a live lane of traffic and you can't get to a safe place, you should:
- Stay in your vehicle – keep your seatbelt fastened.
- Put your hazard warning lights on.
- Dial 999 immediately.
Put the right phone numbers in your phone now
If you can't get to an emergency phone on the side of a motorway you can call Highways England on 0300 123 5000 for help and guidance. Put the number in your phone now.
If your van or company has breakdown assistance (all iVan policies come with free RAC breakdown cover) it's a good idea to have that phone number in your phone as well.
Make a clear assessment of the situation
Although breaking down in traffic can be daunting, you may need to make a quick and clear assessment of the situation:
- If you have broken down while on a journey and can't reach a hard shoulder or safely get to an exit, you may decide it's safer to get out of your car and find a place to stand out of the way of oncoming vehicles. Depending on where your van has stopped you should always exit the vehicle through a door which does not open out into a lane of traffic, if at all possible. Look around carefully before you exit your vehicle.
- The guidance for other drivers is not to stop to help other vehicles as this creates another hazard. So do not attempt to flag down another driver. You should ring Highways England and your breakdown assistance provider as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Only use an emergency area or hard shoulder if it is a genuine emergency. If your van is driveable, you should attempt to get to the next exit, service station, or designated parking area.
- Do not attempt to carry out repairs on the hard shoulder as you and your vehicle may be hit by oncoming traffic.
Have the right van insurance
All iVan van insurance policies, including any driver van insurance, come with free RAC breakdown cover, so you'll always be only one phonecall away from help in the event of a breakdown while on the road.
Get a quote today.