Last Updated on May 17, 2024

Being behind the wheel is a liberating experience, but it comes with responsibilities, including knowing how to handle unexpected situations like a vehicle breakdown. Whether you’re a learner driver or a new driver, understanding the basics of car maintenance, safety, and knowing what to do in case of a breakdown is crucial for your peace of mind and safety on the road.

Why is it important to understand what to do if your vehicle breaks down?

Understanding how to handle a vehicle breakdown is vitally important for every driver. It’s not just about knowing how to drive; it’s about being prepared for the unexpected. From minor inconveniences like a flat tire to more serious issues such as engine failure, knowing how to react and respond appropriately can make all the difference in ensuring your safety and the safety of others around you. By familiarising yourself with the basics of car maintenance, you not only enhance your driving skills but also equip yourself to handle various scenarios effectively. Regularly checking fluid levels, inspecting tires for wear and tear, and ensuring all lights and signals are in working order are simple yet crucial tasks that can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing a breakdown while on the road.

What else can be done to handle a breakdown?

Being prepared for a breakdown goes beyond just mechanical know-how; it also involves having a plan of action in place. Knowing who to call for assistance, whether its roadside assistance or breakdown cover provided by your insurance company or a trusted mechanic, can speed up the resolution of the issue and minimise disruptions to your journey.

Ultimately, being a responsible driver means being proactive in preparing for the unexpected. By understanding the fundamentals of car maintenance, safety protocols, and how to effectively handle a vehicle breakdown, you not only safeguard your own well-being but also contribute to a safer and more enjoyable driving experience for everyone on the road.

Car maintenance tips

Whilst some instances can’t be helped, there are a number of ways that you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a vehicle breakdown.

What to do if your vehicle breaks down

Stay Calm

It is natural to feel stressed when your car breaks down, but panicking will only make the situation worse. Take a deep breath, remain composed, and focus on what needs to be done next to resolve the issue.

Move to Safety

Your safety should always come first. If your car breaks down in the middle of the road, try to steer it to the side or a safe location away from traffic. Activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers and reduce the risk of accidents.

Assess the Situation

Once you are safely off the road, take a moment to assess the situation. Is it a simple problem like a flat tire, or is there something more serious like engine trouble? Understanding the nature of the issue will help you decide on the next course of action.

Call for Assistance

If you have roadside assistance or some form of breakdown cover, now is the time to use it. Call your provider and explain the situation, providing your location and any relevant details. If you do not have roadside assistance or breakdown cover, reach out to a trusted mechanic or someone who can help you get back on the road safely.

Stay Inside the Vehicle

If you are unable to move your car to a safe location or if it’s not safe to exit the vehicle, stay inside with your seatbelt on. This will help protect you from passing traffic and potential hazards while you wait for help to arrive. Remember to keep calm and wait patiently for assistance.

Breakdown Cover

Investing in breakdown cover like having a safety net when you’re on the road. Here’s what you need to know:


Handling a car breakdown can be stressful, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can navigate through it safely. Remember to stay calm, prioritise safety, and seek assistance when needed. By following these tips and being proactive about car maintenance to reduce the chances of a vehicle breakdown, you’ll be better equipped to handle any challenges that come your way on the road.


What should I do if my car breaks down on a motorway?

Pull over to the hard shoulder as far left as possible, turn on hazard lights, exit the vehicle from the left side, and call for assistance immediately.

Can I fix a minor breakdown myself?

If you’re confident and it’s safe to do so, you can attempt minor fixes like changing a flat tire or jump-starting a battery. However, always prioritise safety and call for help if needed.

Is breakdown cover included in my insurance policy?

It depends on your insurance provider and policy. At Collingwood Insurance, we offer breakdown cover as an add-on as part of a comprehensive coverage package to learner driver insurance.

How often should I service my car?

It is recommended to service your car every 6-12 months or as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Regular servicing helps maintain your car’s performance and reduces the risk of breakdowns.

Can I call breakdown cover if I’m not the policyholder?

In most cases, breakdown cover or roadside assistance services can be used by anyone driving the insured vehicle with the policyholder’s permission. However, it is best to confirm with your provider beforehand.