Motorists have been warned that this week marks the start of ‘breakdown season’ in the UK. Data shows that between the final week in June and the first weekend in September saw a whopping 48,500 breakdowns in 2018. Over the next 10 weeks, Highways England is braced to received an extra 700 breakdowns a week. There is expected to be an average 5,000 breakdowns every week over this period with the busiest period in 2018 being the first weekend in August. Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: “We want everyone to get to their destination safely and we can all play a part in that.
“Highways England has done a lot of work to ease congestion on our motorways and make them safer, and our traffic officers are there to help get things moving if there’s a problem.
“But you should also make sure you know what to do if your vehicle does break down.
“We’re expecting to see a big increase in breakdowns over the next few weeks as drivers set out on longer journeys during the summer.
“So, we’re urging drivers to remember the basics of motorway driving, including carrying out simple vehicle checks before setting off, to help keep us all moving.”
There is set to be an influx of drivers on the road over the weekend as temperatures in part of the country are set to reach scorching 31 degrees Celsius.
As a result, there could be a greater risk of motorist’s cars breaking down on the roads.
Around a quarter of summer breakdowns are caused by punctures or other tyre issues.
Vehicles running out of fuel and engines overheating are also other common reasons for breakdowns on motorways.
Highways England is advising drivers that regular car checks help avoid breakdowns:
•check tyres: prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit.
•check engine oil: use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual.
•check water: to ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.
•check lights: if your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MoT.
•check fuel: before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination.
Edmund King, AA president said: “Keeping safe on the motorway is essential, yet almost one in 10 (seven percent) say they flout red ‘X’ signs or do not believe the lower speed limit on display.
“The signs and messages are on for a reason, and doing as they say will save lives.
“As well as checking your vehicle over before your journey, you should also check you have the phone number or app of your breakdown provider should the worst happen and you need assistance.
“Cutting out middle lane hogging will also increase capacity and reduce potential road rage.”