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Centre for Road Safety

Top tips

  • Always activate your hazard lights (and parking lights in poor visibility)
  • Find a safe spot to pull over, such as a hard shoulder or breakdown lane
  • Position your vehicle as far away from other traffic as possible
  • Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and call roadside assistance
  • If you have to get out of your vehicle, always check for traffic - leave your vehicle from the safest side, away from the traffic, especially at night
  • Try to avoid crossing the road
  • Stand clear of the road and move behind a safety barrier if it is safe to do so
  • Do not attempt to change a tyre unless it is safe to do so. If possible, drive on a flat tyre to a safe spot away from traffic.

Be prepared before you leave

  • Before a long journey, check your fuel, oil, water and tyre pressures (including the spare). Our tyre safety tips have practical advice.
  • Carry a high-visibility vest and a torch inside your vehicle
  • Breakdown lanes are only for breakdowns. Use a rest area for making phone calls, toilet stops or attending to children.
  • Fatigue is one of the three big killers on NSW roads. Find helpful advice in our tips to avoid driving tired

If you see a break down

Always slow down when passing stationary emergency vehicles displaying flashing blue or red lights, as well as tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles with flashing yellow lights.

  • On roads with speed limits of 80km/h or less, drivers must slow down to 40km/h.
  • On higher speed roads (with a speed limit of 90km/h or more), motorists need to slow down safely to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances.

Motorists must also provide sufficient space between their vehicle and the stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights. This will include changing lanes on a multi-lane road if it is safe to do so.

Before you help at a breakdown, find a safe spot to pull over and avoid traffic when you leave your vehicle.

Find more detials about the rules in Slow Down, Move Over and Give Space.

Breakdown Safety glove box guide

Copies of the Breakdown Safety glove box guide can be ordered on our Products page.

The guide, and our Breakdown Safety Strategy - A Way Forward, are also available as downloads: