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Full contents
1-35   Rules for pedestrians
36-46   Rules for users of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters
47-58   Rules about animals
58-82   Rules for cyclists
83-88   Rules for motorcyclists
89-102   Rules for drivers and motorcyclists
103-158   General rules, techniques and advice for all drivers and riders
159-203   Using the road
204-225   Road users requiring extra care
226-237   Driving in adverse weather conditions
238-252   Waiting and parking
253-273   Motorways
274-287   Breakdowns and incidents
288-290   Road works
291-299   Level crossings
300-307   Tramways
Choosing and maintaining your bicycle  
Motorcycle licence requirements  
Motor vehicle documentation and learner driver requirements  
The road user and the law  
Vehicle maintenance, safety and security  
First aid on the road  
Safety code for new drivers  
Signs & markings
Light signals controlling traffic  
Signals to other road users  
Signals by authorised persons  
Traffic signs
Signs giving orders  
Warning signs  
Direction signs  
Information signs  
Road works signs  
Road markings  
Vehicle markings  

Highway code

Breakdowns and incidents

274 - 287   back next >
If your vehicle breaks down, think first of other road users and
get your vehicle off the road if possible
warn other traffic by using your hazard warning lights if your vehicle is causing an obstruction
help other road users see you by wearing light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility
put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your broken-down vehicle on the same side of the road, or use other permitted warning devices if you have them. Always take great care when placing or retrieving them, but never use them on motorways
if possible, keep your sidelights on if it is dark or visibility is poor
do not stand (or let anybody else stand) between your vehicle and oncoming traffic
at night or in poor visibility do not stand where you will prevent other road users seeing your lights.
      Additional rules for the motorway
If your vehicle develops a problem, leave the motorway at the next exit or pull into a service area. If you cannot do so, you should
pull on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as possible, with your wheels turned to the left
try to stop near an emergency telephone (situated at approximately one mile intervals along the hard shoulder)

leave the vehicle by the left-hand door and ensure your passengers do the same. You MUST leave any animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under proper control on the verge. Never attempt to place a warning triangle on a motorway

  Highway Code - Alcohol And Drugs
do not put yourself in danger by attempting even simple repairs
ensure that passengers keep away from the carriageway and hard shoulder, and that children are kept under control

walk to an emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway (follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder) - the telephone is free of charge and connects directly to the Highways Agency or the police. Use these in preference to a mobile phone (see Rule 283). Always face the traffic when you speak on the phone

give full details to the Highways Agency or the police; also inform them if you are a vulnerable motorist such as disabled, older or travelling alone
return and wait near your vehicle (well away from the carriageway and hard shoulder)
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
Laws MT(E&W)R reg 14 & MT(S)R reg 12
The Highway Code book
The Highway Code
Highway code book
276 Before you rejoin the carriageway after a breakdown, build up speed on the hard shoulder and watch for a safe gap in the traffic. Be aware that other vehicles may be stationary on the hard shoulder.
277 If you cannot get your vehicle onto the hard shoulder
do not attempt to place any warning device on the carriageway
switch on your hazard warning lights
leave your vehicle only when you can safely get clear of the carriageway.
278 Disabled drivers. If you have a disability which prevents you from following the above advice you should
stay in your vehicle
switch on your hazard warning lights
display a 'Help' pennant or, if you have a car or mobile telephone, contact the emergency services and be prepared to advise them of your location.
If anything falls from your vehicle (or any other vehicle) on to the road, stop and retrieve it only if it is safe to do so.
280 Motorways. On a motorway do not try to remove the obstruction yourself. Stop at the next emergency telephone and call the Highways Agency or the police.
Warning signs or flashing lights. If you see or hear emergency or incident support vehicles in the distance, be aware there may be an incident ahead (see Rule 219). Police Officers and Highways Agency Traffic Officers may be required to work in the carriageway, for example dealing with debris, collisions or conducting rolling road blocks. Police officers will use rear-facing flashing red and blue lights and HA Traffic Officers will use rear-facing flashing red and amber lights in these situations. Watch out for such signals, slow down and be prepared to stop. You MUST follow any directions given by Police officers or Traffic officers as to whether you can safely pass the incident or blockage. Laws RTA1988, sects 35 &163, and as amended by TMA 2004, sect
282 When passing the scene of an incident or crash do not be distracted or slow down unnecessarily (for example if an incident is on the other side of a dual carriageway). This may cause a collision or traffic congestion, but see Rule 283.
283 If you are involved in a crash or stop to give assistance
use your hazard warning lights to warn other traffic
ask drivers to switch off their engines and stop smoking
arrange for the emergency services to be called immediately with full details of the incident location and any casualties (on a motorway, use the emergency telephone which allows easy location by the emergency services. If you use a mobile phone, first make sure you have identified your location from the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder)
move uninjured people away from the vehicles to safety; on a motorway this should, if possible, be well away from the traffic, the hard shoulder and the central reservation
do not move injured people from their vehicles unless they are in immediate danger from fire or explosion
do not remove a motorcyclist's helmet unless it is essential to do so
be prepared to give first aid as shown in 'First aid on the road'
stay at the scene until emergency services arrive.
If you are involved in any other medical emergency on the motorway you should contact the emergency services in the same way.
      Incidents involving dangerous goods
Vehicles carrying dangerous goods in packages will be marked with plain orange reflective plates. Road tankers and vehicles carrying tank containers of dangerous goods will have hazard warning plates (see 'Vehicle markings').
285 If an incident involves a vehicle containing dangerous goods, follow the advice in Rule 283 and, in particular
switch off engines and DO NOT SMOKE
keep well away from the vehicle and do not be tempted to try to rescue casualties as you yourself could become one
call the emergency services and give as much information as possible about the labels and markings on the vehicle. DO NOT use a mobile phone close to a vehicle carrying flammable loads
If you are involved in a collision which causes damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property, you MUST
give your own and the vehicle owner's name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle, to anyone having reasonable grounds for requiring them
if you do not give your name and address at time of the collision, report it to the police as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24 hours.
Law RTA 1988 sect 170
287 If another person is injured and you do not produce your insurance certificate at the time of the crash to a police officer or to anyone having reasonable grounds to request it, you MUST
report it to the police as soon as possible and in any case within 24 hours
produce your insurance certificate for the police within seven days.
Law RTA 1988 sect 170
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