Art & Freedom On The Road

Breaking Down

By Joe on 23rd November 2018

Something you hope never happens, the fear can give you sleepless nights! 

New van or old, it’s inevitable when you’re driving long distances you may get the odd hiccup. It’s not worth worrying about to no end, but just be prepared in the event it does happen. 

We broke down about 2 months into our trip - the engine warning light appeared and we had loss of power to the engine so pulled over immediately, it sucked but we got through it and back up and running the next day.

Things to prepare FOR A Breakdown

  • High-vis vest – If you’re at stranded on the hard shoulder of a motor way or a busy road you must leave the vehicle immediately, away from oncoming traffic and get yourself to a safe destination. It’s important you wear your hi-vis vest while doing this so you don’t get knocked down on the way to safety.

  • Warning Triangle – It’s an EU requirements to carry one of these around with you. These are reflective devices you must place on the roadside 45m behind your vehicle. These can be easily spotted by oncoming drivers so they can be prepared to swerve if need be!

  • Breakdown cover – You might be a mechanic and fix most problems yourself, but never knowing what to go wrong it’s worth having someone you can call out to reach you urgently. We use RAC European cover which costs us £149.99 a year for our 7m 3.5T van. Because of our size we had to sign up for the 'Arrival' scheme (for bigger vans), which was a partnership between RAC and the Caravan and Camping Club which also meant we had to sign up for the CCC for £39.99 a year to qualify for the cover. 

what you should do if you do breakdown

  • Pull over – You might not come to a halt completely before you’ve noticed something wrong and might have some time as your van slows down to get over to the side of the road. Don’t brake too suddenly and take your foot off the accelerator gently as you steer your vehicle over to the side of the road or pull over at the next safe destination if you can make it.

  • Let the world know you’ve broken down! -  Put your hazards on! Then put your hi-vis on, and as long as it’s safe, set up your warning triangle roughly 45m behind your van.

  • Get yourself (and passengers!) to safety – If you’re on the side of a busy road or on the hard shoulder of a motorway, exit the vehicle away from oncoming traffic and get a good distance away from your van.

  • Call for help – Time to call the RAC (or other breakdown assistance you might have). If you’re in serious trouble, call 112 (EU) or 911 (USA).

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