What to do when your HGV breaks down

20th March 2019

DAF prides itself in making reliable vehicles to get you from A to B, but like with anything mechanical, from time to time things go wrong. For DAF we believe it is how you respond when things go wrong that matter. DAFAid is known as the industry leading breakdown recovery service, working 24 hours a day 365 days a year with an average time from initial call to vehicle moving in only 96 minutes.

For most the hard shoulder is a place they never want to find themselves, but for the men and women carrying out roadside recovery it is their workplace. With cars, vans and HGVs flying past at high speed, it can be a dangerous working environment. Over the years there have been a number of incidents where recovery workers being hit by vehicles whilst they’re working, a number of these have been fatal. In this article we want to provide drivers with some tips on what to do when your HGV breaks down and how to create a safer working environment for the people coming to your rescue.

Move as far over into the hard shoulder as possible

The more space that is left between your vehicle and the road the less likely it is for on coming traffic to collide with your vehicle or the worker operating on it. So if you break down make sure you move an extra few feet into the hard shoulder.

If possible, pull over just past bridge/ posts to provide cover from traffic

With the risks of a collision present, it is very important to try and minimise the chance of it happening. When pulling over try look out for a location that may provide some cover such as under a bridge pillar or past posts. This little thought could go a long way to providing saftey for recovery workers.

Keep a warning triangle in your vehicle and place it 50 yards down road from your vehicle

Warning triangles are not manditory by law but this simple piece of quipment goes a long way in providing fellow road users with warning a breakdown is happening. Seeing a warning will help drivers slow down and be more cautious when driving past.

Don’t distract the recovery worker, let them get on with their work

No matter how friendly the worker may be, ultimately they have a job to do and the least amount of time a recovery worker spends by the road the safer it is for them aswell the quicker you can be back on the road. Don't distract them, let them crack on.

If you drive past and can see a recovery happening place your hazard lights on, reduce your speed and move into the lane to your right

There is only so much you can do once you’ve broken down to create a safer environment for the recovery worker. The risks really come from the road users passing a break down. Something everyone can do when they’re out on the road is making sure to slow down when they see some one broken down and switching lane if safe to do so.

Are there any tips that we missed? Be sure to comment them below!

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Jay Lockwood

about 1 year ago


Brian Shaw

about 1 year ago

The recovery vehicle should be parked at the rear of the broken down vehicle

Former Roadside Technician

about 1 year ago

It’s essential both driver and passengers (where applicable) leave the stranded vehicle and not only the leave hard shoulder but position themselves way back into direction the came from. Too often they stand in front/ahead of the vehicle and on the hard shoulder. There have been countless incidents in where another vehicle has hit the stranded vehicle , which has then travelled up or into the hard shoulder and either seriously injuring or fatality killing the driver/passengers. Another benefit is the driver can earn either the Techinician or recovery agent of any potential risk of oncoming vehicles . Hard shoulder 2 walk back 3 stay alert .