If you’re building a career as a courier driver, it’s very likely that you will experience a breakdown at some point. Although taking good care of your vehicle can prevent breakdowns occurring regularly, you can never really predict what will happen when you’re out on the roads. This is why it is really important to be prepared for all eventualities; then, if the worst does happen and you face a breakdown, you’ll know exactly how to deal with it.
This article breaks down (see what we did there?) the four steps a courier driver should take if their vehicle has a mishap on the motorway. This can be very dangerous so the main advice is to try to keep your cool and follow these simple instructions.
1. Move Away From Traffic
If your vehicle starts to fail on the motorway try to pull onto the hard shoulder. Turn your wheel to the left so your wheels are pointing away from the traffic.
2. Be Seen
The hard shoulder is not a safe place to be, so it is important that you make sure your vehicle can be clearly seen by others on the road. Turn on your hazard lights as soon as you can and leave them on whilst your vehicle is stopped. If you have had the misfortune to have to stop in heavy rain, fog or snow turn on your rear fog lights too.
3. Get Out
The safest place for you to be is outside of your vehicle and as far away from the motorway traffic as you can get. If there is a safety barrier, climb behind it. You never know what the weather conditions might be, so every courier driver should always carry a warm coat, a waterproof and a hat and gloves in the winter in case you have to wait outside in the cold.
4. Call for Help
Once you and your vehicle are safely off the road get in touch with your breakdown service. A well-prepared courier driver will have their service’s number saved in their phone and written down on paper in hard copy as well. If your phone is out of battery or has no signal, you may have to walk to one of the emergency phones placed by the roadside to make a call. (That’s where your emergency warm coat might come in handy!)
What to do if…
You can’t get out: If you find that you cannot get out of your van then move to the passenger side seat and put the seatbelt on.
Getting Going Again
Hopefully it won’t be long before help arrives and you’re on your way again. Be very careful moving back into traffic and build up your speed along the hard shoulder before merging onto the motorway. Keep an eye out for cars in the left-hand lane that might not notice you and wait for a safe gap.
If you keep these easy tips in mind you’ll be more than ready to deal with a motorway breakdown. But remember, keeping your van well-maintained and making sure that you drive in a safe manner can help prevent you from having to use these tips too often in the first place.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day courier driver work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.