Motorway Musts – tips for the summer season

With the 2019 summer season expected to be the busiest time of the year for breakdowns, it is important to ensure your vehicle is ready to take on the hotter weather and any long journeys you may have planned.

Summer always sees a spike in breakdowns due to overheating problems that can cause a car to work insufficiently or completely breakdown. Highways England said overheating is a ‘common’ issue, with tyre problems and a lack of fuel being common factors also.

Richard Leonard, Highways England Head of Road Safety, confirmed: ‘We are expecting a big increase in breakdowns over the next few weeks. We are therefore urging drivers to remember the basics of motorway driving – including how to carry out easy vehicle checks’.


Car safety checks

To ensure your vehicle is safe and ready for motorway driving, you should first inspect the tyres. Tyres are the vehicles only point of contact with the road, therefore they have a strong effect on how the car handles, brakes, and rides. By law, a tyre’s tread depth must be at least 1.6mm for the central 75% of its width and around the circumference. Also check its pressure and look for damage such as punctures, bulges, and major cracks.

Other areas to assess include:

  • Engine oil (confirm engine has enough oil via the dipstick)
  • Engine coolant (confirm via the markers on the reservoir)
  • Fuel (check you have enough fuel to reach your destination)
  • Lights (check every bulb works so you can see – and be seen)
  • Washer fluid (ensure there is plenty of washer fluid to clean the windscreen and optimise your view)

What to do if you breakdown on the motorway

Highways England also confirmed what to do if your car becomes problematic on the motorway. The key is to get out of the way of traffic to reduce the risk of collision. Exit via a slip road. If this is impractical, park on the hard shoulder or in an emergency refuge area. Depending on your scenario it might then be safest to:

  • Exit the vehicle via a door on your left
  • Stand behind any metal safety barrier
  • Put on a high visibility jacket
  • Call your breakdown company or Highways England (0300 1235000)

Read the full article on