Driver's Guide: What should you do when your car breaks down on a highway or in a tunnel? How to ask for towing
A vehicle breakdown incident is unfortunate enough without it happening on a highway or in a tunnel. Theoretically, routine repairs and maintenance can help reduce the risk of breakdowns. Drivers should nevertheless learn the right way to deal with various breakdowns as early as possible so that they will not fret in case of an emergency. Kwiksure is here to offer expert advice on how you can be fully prepared and safeguard yourself.
Immediate response to breakdowns
The Transport Department instructs that the hazard warning lights should be turned on immediately, regardless of where the vehicle breaks down. If the situation permits, the driver should drive the vehicle leftward onto the curb, hard shoulder, lay-by, or hard strip, and turn off the engine. Unless absolutely necessary, never let a broken car sit in the right lane. Since it is the designated fast lane, staying there can pose a grave danger to the driver and passengers of the broken car.
Should I stay in the vehicle or get out?
If it is unsafe outside or there is no space to wait for help, you should stay in the car, buckle up, and call the police for help. If you are certain that you and your passengers can safely leave the carriageway and that there is a safe spot to wait for help outside, then you can choose to exit the vehicle from the left. You should always stay out of the carriageway and call the police for help when you are off it. After leaving the broken car, stay out of the carriageway. Do not stand in front of or behind the broken car, or attempt to inspect or repair it in the carriageway.
Additionally, if the traffic conditions permit, you can place your own warning items about 50 meters away behind your car, such as a flashing light or a triangular reflective sign. This will give drivers coming from behind a warning that your car is broken. If you don’t have such an item, you can resort to a bright-colored bucket or something similar for the same purposes. When it is safe to place the item, walk carefully within the crash barrier (if any) until you reach the rear of the broken car.
How to deal with a breakdown on the highway
If your car breaks down on the highway, you should turn on the hazard warning lights immediately and drive it onto the hard shoulder. If the traffic conditions permit, the driver and passengers can get out of the car when it is safe. Once they are out of the carriageway, they can call the police for help.
At the starting point of a hard shoulder lies a traffic sign and a thick white line that trails the edge. In the event of a traffic accident or a breakdown on the strategic routes, you can find out your exact location on the chainage signs installed along the strategic routes and some trunk roads. They will show the route number, travel direction, and chainage along the route. Accurate information will be of convenience for the police, firefighters, ambulance, and towing personnel.
Sources: Transport Department
How to deal with a breakdown in the tunnel
If your car breaks down in the tunnel, you should turn off the engine, turn on the hazard warning lights immediately, buckle your seat belt, and stay in the vehicle. Call the police for help, and follow the tunnel officer’s instructions. If the broken car emits smoke or catches fire, you should exit the vehicle as soon as possible, leave the scene in the opposite direction of the smoke, and wait for rescue in a safe spot.
How to ask for towing
You can find a trailer by phone or through an app. Note that the location of the breakdown, the type of trailer needed, and the road conditions will affect the towing cost.
Further reading: 2022 Towing cost strategy, process, and price-affecting factors
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