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Car breakdown cover could save lives of DIY mechanics

20 November 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Motorists who break down on the motorway could be putting lives at risk by trying to fix the problem themselves or calling on friends or family to help them instead of using a professional car breakdown service.

According to a new study by esure car insurance, Motorway Madness, 67 per cent of motorists who do not have car breakdown cover would either call a friend or relative for help or try to be a DIY mechanic on the motorway hard shoulder.

This puts everyone involved in peril, the insurer warns, and the number of deaths and injuries incurred on motorway hard shoulders rose by nearly a fifth in the last year.

If someone comes to help, then they too have to pull over on the side of the motorway, and attempting to fix the problem without the aid of specialist hazard lighting, hi-visibility clothing and professional equipment could prove to be 'fatal false economy'.

The study also found that a third of all drivers would remain their car to await assistance, rather than getting out and staying well behind the safety barrier on the verge to protect themselves and their families from traffic.

Commenting on Motorway Madness' revelations, Mike Pickard, head of risk and underwriting at esure car insurance, said: "Breakdown cover is a very small price to pay for a service that can protect a motorist and their family when they are at their most vulnerable."

Mr Pickard is adamant that drivers not attempt to fix the car themselves, or to ask others to do so. "Anyone who calls friends and relatives to rescue them on a motorway is potentially putting three or four people's lives into terrible danger," he said. "The motorway is not the place for DIY. Call the experts."

To try and avoid breaking down in the first place, esure recommends checking the oil, fuel level and type pressure before any journey which involves travelling on a motorway.

Keeping warm clothes, blankets, umbrellas and reflective tabards in the car can offer protection against the elements if the car does happen to break down,  at which point the driver should move onto the hard shoulder before slowing down, then put on the hazard warning lights and leave the car via the passenger door and wait on the verge in case the car is hit by another vehicle.

According to esure, some drivers also practice false economy by not taking out car breakdown cover until they have already broken down, which can still incur a lump sum for payment, costing considerably more than taking it cover before hand.
 
Buying breakdown cover with car insurance can be a cost-effective way to ensure peace of mind whilst on any length of journey. esure customers can add breakdown cover to their car insurance policy for as little as £36.75.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd
 

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