If you've broken down it can be hard and often dangerous to stop.
Get your vehicle off the road if possible and warn other traffic by using your hazard warning lights, particularly if your vehicle is causing an obstruction.
Motorway hard shoulders are for emergency use only. You should only stop if it is a real emergency and you have no other choice. It's best to try to drive to a safer place off the motorway if you can rather than stopping on the hard shoulder.
Here are our tips on how to stop safely and call for help.
On a motorway with a hard shoulder
You must not stop on the hard shoulder to:
go to the toilet
use a mobile phone
check a route or map
Step by step
If an emergency forces you to stop:
pull on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as possible with the wheels turned to the left
leave your sidelights on and turn on the hazard warning lights
get out of the vehicle by the left-hand door and make sure that all your passengers do the same
leave animals in the vehicle or in an emergency, keep them under proper control on the verge
if you have reflective jackets in the vehicle wear them – do not use a warning triangle on the hard shoulder
make sure that passengers keep away from the carriageway and hard shoulder and children are kept under control – it is best to retreat up the bank, or behind a barrier if this is possible
don't attempt even simple repairs
Driver location sign
Driver location sign
Calling for help
Once in a safe place use a mobile phone to call the AA, making sure you can describe your location – look out for the new Driver Location Signs which will help us pinpoint your location and direction of travel, or there are reference numbers on all telephones and marker posts.
If you have a smart phone you can download the AA App, which uses the GPS function on the phone to find your exact location. With the simple touch of an icon both the call and the location are transferred to the AA Control Centre.
If you don't have a mobile walk to an emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway – never attempt to cross the carriageway. Follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder – the phone is free and connects directly to the police/Highways Agency. Give full details to the police and tell them if you are a vulnerable motorist, such as a woman travelling alone.
If you feel at risk from another person, return to your vehicle by a left-hand door and lock all doors. Leave your vehicle again as soon as you feel this danger has passed.