Van Breakdown: How To Prepare, and What To Do If It Happens

Vans are not invincible, and any driver should prepare for the possibility that theirs might breakdown. This can be very dangerous if not handled properly or planned for. Here is what you need to know and do in case your van breaks down:

Preparing for a breakdown

No driver should set off on a journey without…

Checking the full functioning of the van.

A road map for knowing where you are if you breakdown. Alternatively a charged, fully functional satnav is also a good idea.

A red warning triangle, for alerting other drivers to your stationary vehicle.

A first aid kit.

A waterproof jacket and something reflective to wear, to attract the attention of breakdown recovery and others who can help you.

A blanket and warm clothing, in case you are stuck for a while.

A torch for night breakdowns.

A charged mobile phone, if at all possible, as emergency phones are only found on major roads.

A bottle of water and some basic food supplies.


In the case of a breakdown


On a motorway, van drivers should…

Pull onto and stop on the hard shoulder as far left as possible.

Turn on hazard warning lights as well as sidelights.

Exit the vehicle along with all passengers by the left-hand doors.

Put on reflective clothing (but do not use a warning triangle on the hard shoulder).

Move away from the carriageway and the hard shoulder if at all possible.

Not attempt any repairs by themselves.

Call for help using emergency phones.


On other roads, van drivers need to…

Try to pull as much out of the way as possible, and stop where the van is least obstructive.

If the van is still at risk of being struck, get out of it with any passengers as quickly as possible.

Put on reflective clothing.

Lay out a warning triangle if it is safe to do so.

Avoid standing between the van and oncoming traffic.

Only attempt any repairs if the van is well clear of any traffic and there is no risk of a collision.

Call for help as soon as it is safe to do so.