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Personal Safety in the event of a breakdown

If a breakdown occurs on a motorway seek professional help and follow our motorway (Tips and advice Article No 6)


  • If possible try to manoeuvre the car to a safe well lit busy area like a shopping centre or supermarket car park.
  • Apply your handbrake and switch on your hazard warning lights.
  • Assess to see if your car is a hazard to other vehicles and if it is safe to get out of the car to investigate.
  • Before unlocking the doors and leaving the safety of your car, if you have a mobile phone ring a friend or family member to tell them what has happened and where you are.
  • If you do have a mobile phone, call your breakdown and recovery service and tell them that you are a women driving alone. Most breakdown services give lone females priority. They are likely to ask for your membership details and an idea of what is wrong with your car, they will also want you to tell them your location.
  • If you do not have a mobile, you will have to assess and decide whether it is safe to use a public telephone. Aim to use a Shopping Centre, Supermarket or Petrol Station as they are usually busy and some have their own security guards. Return to your car and:
  • If the conditions are safe remain in your car with the doors locked and your hazard warning lights on until help arrives. Sometimes it is a good idea to shift over to the passenger side as it gives the impression that you are not alone and the driver is about to return.
  • If possible when help does arrive telephone your family or friends to tell them who the breakdown recovery company is and an estimated time of repair. (Sometimes the major breakdown recovery services use contractors).
  • Always ask the driver for his identification which he should be more than willing to supply. If in doubt lock him out and call 999.
  • It is common for passing police cars to check on vehicles that have broken down. Your are within your rights to ask the police officer for his or her I.D especially if he or she is in an unmarked police car, again, If in doubt lock them out and call 999.
  • Against our expressed advice: Should you decide to accept help from a male stranger. Firstly, stay in your locked car and wind down your window very slightly, politely ask his name and take a note of his vehicles registration number make, model and colour. Tell him that help is on already on route, this way, if he is a potential attacker and he believes help may turn up at any moment, it may well deter him. If he is still willing to help you, stay in your locked car and tell him that you are going to call a family member or friend (or the person on route) to tell them who is helping you. If he is a genuine person he will have no objection to your phone call. If in doubt lock him out and call 999.
  • No matter how upstanding or friendly the Good Samaritan seems, never accept a lift from a man you don't know.

Please Note! Although Roaddriver accepts that not all men are rapists or murderers, we strongly advise you to decline all offers of help from strangers and to await assistance from your Breakdown Recovery Service, Police or Family member. It is a sad indictment of our times but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Women Driving Alone - Personal Safety in the event of a Break Down

Tips and Advice - Article No.5 RoadDriver 2010

For more information and a printable version to pass on to friends and family, click the link below.

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