Car breakdowns are a fact of driving - here's how to stay safe when your vehicle stops unexpectedly.

Most car breakdowns are unexpected, but sometimes these things happen.


Car breakdowns on highways and freeways can be particularly stressful and potentially dangerous.

If you find yourself in a breakdown situation, don’t panic.

Keep calm and follow these steps:

1. Pullover

If you can, find a safe place to pull over – off the road or in the emergency breakdown lane. Try to keep off the central median strip. Park as far left as possible to maximise the space between your car and the traffic.

2. Turn on your hazard lights
Parking lights are also a good idea if it’s dark or there is poor visibility.

This is what the hazard lights button will look like in your car
This is what the hazard lights button will look like in your car

3. Get out of your car
If it’s safe, exit your car from the side away from the traffic. Always check for traffic first and close the car door behind you. If it’s not safe to exit your car, stay inside with your seatbelt on.

4. Stand clear of all traffic
Stand clear of the road and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid crossing the road at all times. Stand behind the safety barrier if there is one. Wait under some shade if it’s a hot day.

5. Call for help
Call a roadside assistance provider or tow company on your mobile. If you don’t have a mobile, use a roadside emergency phone if there’s one nearby (and it’s safe to leave your car). If you are outside the vehicle, try to face the traffic when you make the call - just in case you need to move to avoid an oncoming vehicle.

6. Stay calm
As long as you’re safe, that’s all that matters. Help may take longer to arrive if you are on a country road.

7. Wait it out
Wait in your safe place for help to arrive and then follow their instructions.

RAC members save 10% on car servicing with RAC Auto Services.

RSA attending a breakdown
RAC Roadside Assistance can help all over WA

How we can keep everyone safer

As WA's leading road safety advocate, RAC is campaigning to make sure the people that come to help you out on the roads, like the emergency services or patrols, stay safe. We are asking everyone to slow down whenever they see emergency or breakdown lights by the side of the road.

Reduce your chance of breakdowns. 

Be good to your car. Regular servicing and extra checks on fuel, oil, water, and tyre pressure can go a long way to helping avoid a breakdown.

Find out more

Last updated September 2017