Centre for Road Safety

If you break down

Tips for staying safe in a breakdown  include:

  • Find a safe spot to pull over such as an emergency breakdown area
  • Park your vehicle as far to the left as possible
  • Always activate your hazard lights
  • Activate your parking lights in poor light
  • Call roadside assistance on your mobile phone or use a roadside emergency phone
  • When leaving your vehicle always check for traffic
  • Leave your vehicle from the passenger side if possible
  • Avoid crossing the road at all times
  • Stand clear of the road. Move behind a safety barrier if safe
  • Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on if it’s not safe to leave.

Be prepared

  • Check your fuel, oil, water and tyre pressures (including the spare) before a long journey
  • Carry a high-visibility vest, warning triangles and a torch inside your vehicle
  • Breakdown lanes are only for breakdown situations
  • Use a rest area for making social phone calls, toilet stops or attending to children.

Breakdown situations

On freeways or country roads

  • Always activate your hazard lights
  • Activate your parking lights in poor light
  • Call roadside assistance or use a roadside emergency phone
  • Move behind a safety barrier if safe to do so. Avoid crossing the road at all times
  • Do not change a tyre yourself, wait for roadside assistance
  • Stay calm, help may take longer to arrive on a country road
  • Let roadside assistance come to your vehicle and follow their instructions.

In tunnels

  • Always activate your hazard and parking lights
  • Do not get out of your vehicle
  • Keep your seatbelt on
  • Stay calm, major tunnels are constantly monitored and operators will send help
  • Listen to your radio for instructions from the tunnel operator

If you see a breakdown

  • Slow down to about 30 km/h below the posted speed limit
  • Avoid crossing the road if you are helping someone

Don’t take risks

Our Breakdown Safety glove box guide is a handy checklist to keep in your vehicle.

Our Breakdown Safety Strategy - A way forward aims to develop practical ways to reduce the risks at breakdowns for all road users across NSW.