What Should You Do When Your Truck Breaks Down?

Firstly, one of the worse feelings a truck driver will experience is when a truck has a mechanical failure out on the road. in this British Trucking article, we look at What Should You Do When Your Truck Breaks Down.

Try To Get To A Safe Location

When a truck has a mechanical failure that makes the vehicle no longer driveable can be very scary for a driver especially when in busy traffic. When a driver is in this situation it is important not to panic. Try to maneuver your truck to a safe location but do so as safely as possible making sure that any vehicles around you are not put in any danger by your actions.

Do not make any sudden maneuvers that could cause an accident, it is better to stop in the position you are in than to cause an accident that could seriously injure somebody.

Do not attempt to fix the vehicle yourself at the side of a road, prepare to warn other motorists and wear high vis clothing, get into a safe location away from the vehicle preferably behind a safety barrier or up an embankment, call your employer for breakdown assistance.

Hazard Warning Lights and Triangles

Hazard warning lights are your best friend when your vehicle breaks down, they can be used to warn traffic around you that there is a problem, this should slow the traffic speed around you enabling you to call for help, in heavy traffic dismount the cab from the nearside door if you managed to get to the side of the road. It is advisable to keep a red warning triangle in your vehicle to warn approaching traffic of danger, place a warning triangle approximately 150 feet behind the broken-down truck to warn traffic approaching there is danger ahead, then, get to a place of safety away from your vehicle until help arrives. If your issue is electrical and you have no hazard warning lights then the warning triangle will be very important to slow down approaching traffic.

AA Warning Triangle For Breakdown Roadside Emergency Hazard AA0071 - EU Driving Legal Standard For Cars Vans Trucks -...
  • Be seen be safe with this highly reflective triangle
  • Warns other road users of accidents and breakdowns
  • Heavy duty to withstand strong winds
  • Complies with EU driving laws
  • Folds flat in its storage case (included)

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Should You Do When Your Truck Breaks Down on a Motorway

If your truck breaks down on a motorway with a hard shoulder, try to position the truck as far away from the motorway carriageway as possible, just a few feet can add more safety for you, your vehicle, and approaching traffic.

If there is a motorway bridge try to pull over just past it and use the bridge as cover for your vehicle also increasing safety and protection for you and your vehicle.

Should your truck break down on a smart motorway, stop the vehicle on the nearside lane or if possible an emergency pull-in. Use your hazard warning lights to warn traffic behind you, there are monitored cameras on smart motorways so the traffic will be slowed down quickly from a control center which will display a speed change and warn traffic to merge into a safe lane to avoid you. Help should arrive quickly on smart motorways as the control center will notify the nearest Highways England patrol vehicle or similar depending on your location.

When Breakdown Help Arrives

When help arrives it is important that you let them do their job, try not to distract them as they are trained in vehicle recovery, they will ask you any relevant questions they need answering, but the main objective will be to get the vehicle moved to a safe location as quickly and as safely as possible.

Final Recovery or Moving The Vehicle

When you are in a position to move the vehicle or it is being recovered, it is important that you remove any warnings that may have been put in place to warn approaching traffic such as a warning triangle, if the triangle was forgotten it could cause confusion to motorists once you have left the breakdown scene.

If you are able to drive the truck due to a vehicle roadside repair, ensure you move back into the traffic safely to continue your journey, this may seem obvious but sometimes the stress of a broken down vehicle can cause you to try and move the vehicle quickly because of traffic build-up, take your time and keep yourself safe and those around you.


In conclusion, it is important not to panic when your truck breaks down.

Try to get your vehicle to as safe a place as possible.

Warn other motorists if you can do so safely, use hazard warning lights and position a hazard warning triangle to slow approaching traffic.

Wait for help in a safe location away from the vehicle.

Do not distract recovery workers let them complete their work so the vehicle can be moved to a safe position as quickly as possible.

Take your time getting back into traffic if your truck was repaired at the side of the road.

Thank you for reading this article “What Should You Do When Your Truck Breaks Down” we hope you found it useful.