Staying Safe While Awaiting A Breakdown Patrol

Breaking down in a dark and alien place isn’t something many people would be comfortable with, so it makes a lot of sense to know what to do if it happens to you. Personal safety and motoring go hand in hand, so there’s a number of things you can do to help yourself to stay safe and comfortable if the worst happens.

Be Prepared

You’re already doing the first thing, and arguably the most important thing that anyone can do. It sounds a little bit boy scouts, as it’s quite simply to be prepared.

Simply being here means you’re thinking along the right lines – finding out and learning what to do will clearly be half the battle won.

We’ve talked before about buying a tyre pump, as that’s something simple that will allow you do resolve issues by yourself and get on your way again quickly and safely.

There’s plenty more you can do though in addition, so let’s address those one by one.

Oil Level

“Rodney you dip stick!” is a famous Only Fools and Horses mis-quote, but do you know how a dip stick works? It’s very simple, but a lot of people get it wrong.

Firstly, ensure your car is parked on level ground, and lift the bonnet. Next, pull out the dip stick completely and wipe it with a rag, or kitchen roll, anything to clear the oil entirely.

Next, push it back into its holder all the way down until it stops. After a second or two, pull it back out and see where the line of oil ends. It should be between the minimum and maximum marks – sometimes these are marked with words, other times they’re notches out of the stick.

If the level is too low, you need more oil. It shouldn’t be too high, but if it is, you will need to get some drained from the system. In either case, seek help from a mechanic if you’re unsure what you’re doing.

Washer Fluid

Here’s one that’s really simple – you should regularly add diluted washer fluid to the reservoir under you car’s bonnet. If conditions are really bad – for example in very cold weather, you may be able to use it neat to protect from freezing. Check your fluid refill bottle for the specifics on how much water to add (if any).

Running out might mean you can’t see the road or other hazards, so staying on top of topping it up is important!


Like everything else, light bulbs have a limited life span. That’s why you need to check them every so often. It’s a good idea to get someone to help you do this and watch around the car as you try each in sequence:

  • Headlights (full beam and dipped)
  • Indicators (all four corners plus wings and wing mirrors if appropriate)
  • Brakes
  • Tail lights
  • Reversing light(s)
  • Fog lights (front and rear)

It’s a quick job to do, and helps you be sure that they’re doing their job, both for you as a driver, and for other motorists and pedestrians around you.

When you pass your test and receive your licence, you’re showing you understand the rules of the road. Part of that commitment is ensuring you’re driving as safely and responsibly as possible every time you take to the road.

Driving is a privilege, and one to take seriously. Taking pride in your vehicle means you’re less likely to be involved in accidents, less likely to break down, and enjoy a blemish free driving career for many years to come.

Tyre Inflators: Personal Safety On The Move

Forget personal alarms and martial arts for a moment, they both have their place when you’re out and about to help you stay safe. They’re not going to help you much though when you break down, unlike a tyre inflator.

If you’re in a dark part of town, perhaps renowned for being a bit rough and have to wait for hours for a recovery truck, you may well be better off being able to get back on the move straight away rather than sitting in your locked vehicle.

That’s where a Ring tyre inflator might come in really handy. If it’s a flat or soft tyre that’s interrupted your journey, assuming the tyre isn’t too badly damaged, it probably just needs a little air adding. If you’ve got a portable tyre inflator handy, that’s a fast and simple job. Just increase pressure to the correct level and you can be on your way again.

Even if it’s a slow puncture holding you up, your inflator might well be the difference between getting stranded in a dodgy area and making your way to somewhere safer like a well lit supermarket car park to await further assistance.

Smart motorways have no hard shoulder
Smart motorways have no hard shoulder

Of course, you should only attempt to solve the problem yourself if it’s safe to do so. Generally speaking the hard shoulder of a fast moving motorway is one to leave to the experts. That’s especially true if you happen to need to stop in one of the stretches of motorway without a hard shoulder to shelter in.

Breakdowns can be particularly stressful, so being prepared for these eventualities is wise, and a great way to help yourself stay safe wherever possible. There’s a large range of steps you can take in order to stay as safe as possible. As well as the website, you can also turn to the RAC and AA websites for more great advice.

The Value Of Youth Groups

Though I never belonged to any youth groups when I was younger, a part of me really wishes that I had. These are sometimes run by churches or other religious organizations, but some are community based.

These are something that tend to help teenagers connect with each other, and it is also a great way to give children the right direction in which to go with their lives. Sometimes, belonging to groups for youth is all that a teen needs to stay out of trouble and to keep them on the right path in life.

Small Towns May Offer More

Most communities have youth groups, even the smallest ones. I know that I came from a small town, and there were quite a few of them. I considered myself too cool for this, which I now think it ridiculous, but many of my friends attended youth groups at last once a week.

They were involved in many community activities. What I notice, looking back, is that they got into far less trouble, if any, than I did, and it may very well have been because of the attention and support they go from these groups and meetings.

Community Demands Accountability

Probably one big reason why those in youth groups tend to be more responsible and make better choices is because they have a group of peers and adults that they feel they have to answer to.

It doesn’t mean they go in and report to their youth groups what they have done that day, or that week, but it does mean that they will care what they think of them.

When a teenager finds this type of support and accountability, they learn something about themselves and they want to do well. This can help them when they are confronted with all types of peer pressure.

Your teenager may not be sure about youth groups, but if they are the least bit interested, you should do your best to encourage them to join one. You can find information about these groups for youth in your local papers or by asking other parents.

Let your child decide which of the youth groups you find would be the best fit for them. Forcing them to join one they don’t like won’t help much, but giving them the choice to choose on their own means they have the best chance at remaining with the group and actually getting something out of it.