Quiz: What do you know about breaking down?

breaking down

None of us leaves home in the morning wanting to break down. Sadly, thousands of us will. But how much do you actually know about breaking down? Take our quiz to find out what you know – or otherwise – about conking out at the roadside.

Take our quiz on breaking down below


Well done! In the unlikely event that you break down you know the basics of what you should do.

You need to brush up on your knowledge. We want everyone who breaks down to stay as safe as they possibly can.

#1. You suffer a puncture on a normal motorway. What should you do?

For the sake of other road users, don’t keep driving!

#2. What’s the advice if your car breaks down in the active lane of a smart motorway?

Smart motorways don’t have a hard shoulder so it’s important you know what to do if your car conks out.

#3. What do the marker posts beside motorways indicate?

The markers beside a motorway are there to help so you should know how to read them.

#4. If you break down on a motorway, where on the hard shoulder should you stop?

Bear in mind if you break down, the hard shoulder is a very dangerous place to be stopped

#5. You’re driving along at 60mph and your car suddenly loses power. You should…

It could happen to any of us, so try again until you get the right answer.

#6. When should you put out a warning triangle?

A warning triangle can be an important aid to road safety – but only when it’s used properly.

#7. When your car is broken down at the roadside you should turn the steering…

Follow this tip and even if your car is hit from behind it won’t be shunted onto the carriageway.

#8. If you break down on a motorway where should you wait for help?

This guy’s got it all wrong. He should be behind his car and preferably waiting somewhere safer.

#9. An orange dashboard warning light comes on as you’re driving along. You should…

Breaking down on the motorway is a safety risk. What’s the point if you can do your best to avoid it?

#10. How far apart are the safe emergency refuge areas on smart motorways?

Road safety campaigners are calling for these refuges to be closer together.


57 comments on “Quiz: What do you know about breaking down?

  1. D M Hooper 22/12/2019 12:02 AM

    Good one. Didn’t know about smart motorways though.

  2. Diane Saunders 18/02/2020 8:11 PM

    I agree thank you for the brush up

  3. Phil 18/02/2020 8:15 PM

    Great idea it keeps you on the ball, but what do you do if you break down on a smart motorway in the third lane?

  4. Mark Winton 18/02/2020 9:54 PM

    9/10 but I was a recovery driver lol smart motorway got me

  5. A RESTARICK 18/02/2020 10:00 PM

    I got the smart motorway question re break down in active lane wrong. I said move to hard shoulder. Said to be wrong because they don’t hard shoulder. ????
    I thought they did at certain periods which is why they were called smart.
    I will have to check that out.

  6. Bill Hall 18/02/2020 10:18 PM

    I got three wrong. How do I find what were the correct answers

  7. Paulette Harvey 18/02/2020 10:33 PM

    I would have thought that if you break down on a smart motorway it would be best to get as far away up the embankment than sit strapped in the car where a lorry travelling at speed could destroy it with me in it

    • Sarah Miller 18/02/2020 10:57 PM

      Would only work if your lucky enough to have broken down in the near side lane. Otherwise jumping out, if your door doesn’t get taken off by a passing vehicle, you’ll be playing chicken across active lanes.

    • Richard Watson 19/02/2020 4:29 PM

      I agree, sitting in your vehicle in a live lane is asking for trouble. I broke down in the outside lane of the A1 many years ago, I was strapped in and hazards were on, within a minute a car ran into me !!

    • Lyn Haleigh 19/02/2020 8:39 PM

      Yes, I agree – staying strapped in a car would be highly dangerous – this has been proved time and time again, and ended up in death for some motorists – the answers to the above questions are not entirely right. On motorways, drivers travelling at speed do not always heed the hazard warnings and often crash into cars broken down, and also on the hard shoulder! ‘Driver Beware’

    • B Percy 19/02/2020 9:27 PM

      If you breakdown on the near side lane then I would get out and up the embankment but if on the outside lane not sure I would want to try and cross three lanes of traffic to get to the embankment

    • peter davey 20/02/2020 10:41 AM

      i could not agree more lets get rid of smart motorways

    • Sandra Copley 20/02/2020 8:47 PM

      Totally agree.

    • Keith Jackson 21/02/2020 9:15 PM

      Absolutely agree, the last place I would remain is in the car. I don’t have a death wish.

  8. Andy 19/02/2020 1:15 AM

    Whats smart about Motorways without a hard shoulder? Just Government madness..

  9. Michael Moss 19/02/2020 1:40 AM

    I agree with Paulette Harvey, too many people have been killed or injured on smart motorways by staying inside their vehicles. It has been serious enough for the relevant authorities to review smart motorways with a view to abandoning the idea.

  10. Sharon 19/02/2020 7:23 AM

    I agree with Pauline, I would not be sat there like a sitting duck. I would be over the barrier. These smart motorways are not safe. Not to mention the monitoring of them or should I say lack of. Interesting quiz.

  11. Harry 19/02/2020 8:41 AM

    Very helpful.

  12. Lyn Walker 19/02/2020 9:22 AM

    What to to do if breakdown on ‘smart'(?) motorway? This is equivalent to breaking down in a live lane with no safety refuge i.e. a hard shoulder.

  13. Rudge 19/02/2020 9:39 AM

    Smart lanes are legal death traps. Get out of your car and as far away as possible as sure as apples someone will hit it !!!!!!

  14. Ray Stevens 19/02/2020 9:54 AM

    smart motorway lanes are too dangerous, anyone forced to stop in risks their lives, when they started making them i knew straight away the risks to life….the roads in the Uk are too congested day and night and during the new rush hour which appears never ending due to volume of traffic i would not want to break down in one

    • Stephen Ford 19/02/2020 10:43 PM

      Yes, couldn’t agree more. There have been too many examples of lorries ploughing into stationary queuing cars and killing all the occupants to think that staying in the car is anything but a death wish.

  15. GAYLE BELL 19/02/2020 11:16 AM

    .smart motorways are becoming a hazard and are responsible for many accidents which cild have been avoided if there were more safe areas and more frequent.

  16. Robin Wilson Edwards 19/02/2020 12:24 PM

    I am unsure about the procedure to adopt if breaking down on a smart motorway. Similar to Paulette Harvey’s comments, I would leave my vehicle by the passenger door and get as far up the embankment as possible. To stay in the car would surely be too dangerous.

  17. J Rayne 19/02/2020 1:22 PM

    Smart motorways if you break down put you in a very dangerous position. A family that stayed with the car died when a lorry hit them. I would get out when safe to do so and go as far away down the road as possible.

  18. Gordon T 19/02/2020 4:36 PM

    I will only stay in my car with the hazard lights on after breaking down on a Smart motorway if I wish to commit suicide!

  19. Robert 19/02/2020 5:17 PM

    Smart motorways are potential death traps. It shows what the authorities think of us. I still believe it’s best to leave your vehicle when safe assuming there is somewhere safer to go.

  20. t slee 19/02/2020 5:53 PM

    refuges on ‘Smart Motorways’ are too far apart on most motorways !!!!!!

  21. Lesley Cooper 19/02/2020 8:12 PM

    Thank you. I will remember the two I got wrong and note the correct answers. Lesley

  22. George Rowell 19/02/2020 8:20 PM

    It seems obvious now that you should turn the steering wheel to the left,well worth remembering

  23. George 19/02/2020 8:22 PM

    1.5miles seems a long wa between safe havens
    If you have just passed one I think you might kiss your car good bye

  24. Peter Durrant 19/02/2020 8:30 PM

    Never sit in your car if you break down on a motorway, it’s a good way to get wiped out. Get the other side of the barrier away from your car. If the car gets hit, you are still alive.

  25. Diana Hudson 19/02/2020 8:40 PM

    On a smart motorway I would get well out of the way up the embankment. No way woul
    d I sit here waiting for something to hit me.

  26. William Omelasz 19/02/2020 8:52 PM

    I was pleasantly surprised that i got 8/10 at my first attempt, contrary to what was said about me needing to brush up, on my knowledge,

  27. Steve 19/02/2020 9:01 PM

    you haven’t given the answers to the incorrect questions

  28. Paul Robinson 19/02/2020 9:29 PM

    Interesting,but I never use motorways, none in remote Scotland where I live.

  29. Sandra OBrien 20/02/2020 7:37 AM

    This quiz highlighted the answers I got wrong, but didn’t give me the correct answers!!

  30. Miles Tarquin Looby-Tierney 20/02/2020 9:36 AM

    I had one wrong…. The warning triangle “nuts” is my reply 15 years in recovery urban and motorway all vehicles a triangle is still the best universal all languages warning that there is a hazardous area ahead and as a roadsider once it was struck and and gave me time to react and move from a dingbat van driver texting on the motorway …. So no my option is staying 10/10 in my eyes…

  31. Jan Stock 20/02/2020 10:07 AM

    Feel very pleased with my result. I put every half mile for the safety area on smart motorways as they should be close but not sure how far they are at present. At present smart motorways are anything but safe, watched Panorama program, hope I don’t have to travel on one.

  32. Paul 20/02/2020 10:16 AM

    Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a “right” answer with “smart” motorways – stay in the car and you risk being rear ended by approaching traffic (there are plenty of scary clips around about this) but to leave the vehicle you have to get out into live traffic so still will be at risk – and whilst adults might be able to judge the risk I’m not so sure about children and dogs. (Imagine a mother on her own with threeyoung children – do she try and get all three kids out at the same time or get one out and to safety and hope to be able to come back for the others?Who will you get out and safe first?). Smart motorways might have made sense if use of the hard shoulder was combined with an enforced speed limit of perhaps 50mph, as is the practice through the road works whilst motorways are being converted, but not the free-for-all of no hard shoulder and 70+mph traffic. (And I speak as a former transport and traffic engineer who can see all the elements of a “computer says yes” decision making process behind smart motorways). It might take you a litle more time to get along the road but the risk of an accident would be reduced and nothing adds to a journey delay than a multi-vehicle pile up.

  33. Alistair Parker 20/02/2020 12:01 PM

    Why are updates to the highway code such as how to use smart motorway not sent out to drivers along with tax renewal notice. Or at least a prompt to go and find the information. We might all be safer for it.

  34. Neil Smith 20/02/2020 1:12 PM

    According to one information source ( Panorama in January) refuges on the new smart motorways can be up to 2.5 mls apart. While this is the exception and the Govt. wishes to see them at least 0.5 ml apart there is little indication where the 2.5 ml gaps are located.

  35. A marsters 20/02/2020 3:04 PM

    What about disabled drivers/disabled passengers.

  36. Geoff Page 20/02/2020 4:43 PM

    Really helpful, thanks

  37. Reginald Casbeard 20/02/2020 4:43 PM

    your answer too question 3 is unclear. 102.7 surly means 102 kilometers +700 meters from start of motorway London end. Also number 7 depends on weather keys are in or out of steering lock as all cars have castor action.

  38. David Gerighty 20/02/2020 8:34 PM

    what happens if your car sets fire on a smart motorway?

  39. Sandra Copley 20/02/2020 8:50 PM

    I hope you never have to drive on a smart motorway.

  40. David 20/02/2020 11:42 PM

    Got one wrong at 0.5miles for safe haven on smart MW ? But you don’t give the correct answers?

  41. peter davies 21/02/2020 1:08 AM

    never used smart motorways

  42. Geoff Jaquest 21/02/2020 2:21 PM

    What is a Smart Motorway?? Name them please??

  43. Brian Kidd. 21/02/2020 6:11 PM

    I agree very much to most previous comments about “smart motorways”. They are very risky to say the least. If I brokedown on a smart motorway, thw place I’d stay is in my car!! Up the embankment for me thank you very much!!

  44. Malcolm Preston 21/02/2020 7:56 PM

    I watched a tv prog about smart motorways & it stated the pull in lay byes are aprox 2.5 miles apart

  45. Suzanne Rawsthorne 22/02/2020 12:01 PM

    The thought of breaking down on a “smart”motorway terrifies me!

  46. Martin Tyler 23/02/2020 12:07 PM

    As a driving instructor, I find your quizzes extremely helpful for a quick Q&A with my students as they are able to gain a lot of extra and useful information about being safe on the roads.

  47. Mr m martin 24/02/2020 11:02 AM

    Never heard of smartmotaway.time to give up driving

  48. Barbara M. Blundell 24/02/2020 3:59 PM

    A very good quiz……….. though No 2 could be really worrying and frightening! I have to say, I’m not too happy about smart motorways, the M27 is about to become one and that worries me

  49. Hylton 26/02/2020 12:08 PM

    There is no answer to the smart motorway question either way your up the creek without a paddle get rid of smart motorways is the only answer

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