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Breakdown on the motorway: Have the right reflexes

One in two drivers acts clumsily in the event of a breakdown or puncture on the motorway. But on the fast lanes, the slightest mistake can be fatal. Are you sure you know the right reflexes?

Triangle de détresse

Mistake 1: stopping in the emergency lane


A tyre blowout, a clutch problem, an engine light coming on... Many drivers stop as quickly as possible in an emergency, and therefore as close as possible to the hard shoulder. But this is so dangerous that it should be avoided! Unfortunately, there are many accidents involving vehicles parked on the hard shoulder. Stop in the emergency lane should only be done as a last resort. Ideally, you should always try to get to the next exit ramp or the nearest rest area, from where you can safely manage the situation.


If an unexpected situation arises, please park your vehicle to the right of the emergency lane and activate your hazard lights.


Mistake 2: having your safety vest... in the boot


Many of us keep our fluorescent vest in the boot. But in the event of an emergency on the motorway, this means you have to get out of the vehicle and sometimes search for a long time to get your hands on your precious waistcoat, a time when you are particularly vulnerable! So remember to always leave the safety vests in the passenger compartment, within easy reach. If you regularly travel with several passengers, you should also consider having several vests, ideally one for each passenger.


Mistake 3: installing a warning triangle


Even if it was compulsory on the motorway, it is advisable not to take unnecessary risks by trying to place the triangle. In addition, it should be noted that the triangle could pose a danger to other drivers if it were to fly out into the traffic lanes.


Mistake 4: Stopping other vehicles


It is strongly discouraged to try to attract the attention of other vehicles on the motorway or to stop them, even if you are in need. Waving your arms from the emergency lane, for example, can distract drivers and cause accidents. In addition, it is a risk to your own safety as you could be hit.


Mistake 5: Trying to repair your vehicle or change a wheel on the side of the motorway


It is also not advisable to try to repair your vehicle, even for minor problems, or to change a wheel on the hard shoulder of the motorway, for the same safety reasons. In addition, it is forbidden to carry out repairs on the public highway.


Mistake 6: staying in (or near) your vehicle


It is important to remember that, even in bad weather, you should never stay in your car on the hard shoulder, let alone right next to it. After putting on the safety vests and switching on the hazard lights, it is crucial to immediately evacuate all people on board, including yourself, through the right-hand side of the vehicle and quickly move to safety behind the safety barriers.


Mistake 7: Calling for help and then the tow truck


It is imperative to get behind the safety barriers before calling for help in an emergency on the motorway. Dial 113 as a priority as the police will quickly secure traffic and set up signage. Once help has been alerted, you can then contact a tow truck. It is crucial that you wait behind the safety barriers for help and never get back into your car.


It is important to remember that the golden rule is never to stay on the motorway lanes or hard shoulder, either inside or outside your vehicle. The average survival time of a pedestrian in the emergency lane is only 15 minutes.


Towing or recovery on the motorway can be expensive, unless you have taken out breakdown assistance. Have you taken out breakdown assistance with Foyer? If so, simply contact one of our Foyer agents on +352 437 43 123 who will organise a breakdown or towing service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don't know if you have this guarantee, you can check the guarantees covered by your Foyer contract via your Customer Area or the MyFoyer application.

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