If you need to stop on a motorway with no hard shoulder

Go left

If you get into trouble on a motorway, most vehicles can be driven to an emergency area.

These are spaced regularly, are painted orange and are marked with blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone symbol, to indicate the distance to the next one.

Get safe and away from moving traffic

Switch your hazard warning lights on, even during the day. If it’s dark, use side lights and in poor visibility use fog lights.

If it’s safe and you can get out with any passengers, exit your vehicle via the left-hand door and get behind a safety barrier where there is one and it is safe to do so. They offer extra protection.

Gather any items you may need, such as mobile phone, coat, hi-vis clothing, food, drink and medication. Take care if getting items from the boot.

It’s safer to leave pets in your vehicle, even if you think they may become upset. This is because your pet may become scared, run into the traffic and cause a collision. Only remove pets in an emergency. Keep them under proper control on the verge and behind the safety barrier, if there is one.

Keep well away from your vehicle and moving traffic, even if it’s raining, cold or dark.

If you’re on a verge, be aware of any unseen hazards such as sudden drops, uneven ground or debris.

Get help

Use the free emergency telephone which connects directly to a National Highways regional operations centre and identifies your location.

Alternatively use your mobile phone to call us on 0300 123 5000 if you're unable to exit your vehicle.

We'll give you further advice and assistance based on your circumstance.

After your call to National Highways (and the emergency services if required), contact a breakdown provider. They may give you additional instruction.