Using the hard shoulder safely


An estimated 1 in 6 fatalities occur every year on UK motorways from accidents involving vehicles on the hard shoulder. Drivers have been known to use the hard shoulder for overtaking, stopping to use their mobile phones or even having a quick snack.

None of these activities are permissible on a hard shoulder. It's function is as a place of refuge for vehicles in an emergency, or as a pathway for maintenance vehicles, the police or emergency services.

The hard shoulder can still be a dangerous place to stop even in an emergency. Your vehicle is still close to fast-moving traffic, so it should only be used if you have no other choice and you cannot leave the motorway completely via a junction or exit to motorway services.

If you have to use the hard shoulder in an emergency there are some simple guidelines to follow in order to stay safe.

  • If you think you have a problem with your vehicle or you have had an accident but you are still mobile, use your indicator to show your intention to leave the main highway. Decelerate and manoeuvre as slowly and safely as possible

  • Once you are on the hard shoulder and still decelerating, switch your hazard lights on to show others that you have a problem

  • After you have stopped, the occupants should all leave the vehicle from the passenger side if possible, if you do have to exit the driver's side, take extreme care

  • Make sure everyone gets behind the crash barrier, and DO NOT attempt to repair the vehicle yourself

  • Whilst staying outside the crash barrier, walk to the nearest emergency telephone to call for assistance, they are spaced at one mile intervals on most motorways and there are also signs indicating which phone is closest to your position. The position of these phones is known to the breakdown services and so it will make it easier for them to locate you

  • If you choose to call on your mobile phone, make sure you give them clear instructions as to your location

  • If you feel vulnerable waiting outside, sit in the passenger side of the vehicle, lock all the doors and wait for the recovery services

If you have been involved in an accident on the motorway that was not your fault, please give us a call on 02392 484 244 or use the free enquiry button below, and one of our experienced claims advisors will be happy to help you.


No need to claim on your insurance

Anyone who has been involved in a road accident has the right to choose who repairs their vehicle. If you were responsible for the accident you were involved in, the company that insures your vehicle would normally deal with your accident claim.

However if you were not at-fault for the accident, you can choose to either claim on your own insurance policy or make a claim independently of your insurer. To find out more call 02392 484 244 and we will be happy to help.

We and our partners help thousands of people make independent accident claims. Our service enables motorists to get the help and assistance they need to resolve their accident related issues, with the costs being recovered directly from the at-fault driver on your behalf.

No excess to pay

Unfortunately even if an accident was not your fault, your insurer will almost certainly require you to pay your excess before any repair is started on your car.

This money should of course be recovered by an insurer at a later date, but with our service - you do not have to pay it at all.

By using our independent claims service, you are not making a claim on your insurance policy and so you will have no excess to pay.

Receive a like-for-like replacement hire vehicle

Not all insurance policies will include a replacement hire-car for you to use if yours is damaged and unroadworthy. In fact it is typically an 'optional extra' on your policy.

Other policies may offer a 'courtesy car' but this is often just a 'basic' saloon or hatchback which may not be suitable for your needs.

Car Call and its partners will provide a like-for-like replacement vehicle as part of our service. This means we will endeavour to supply a hire-vehicle that similar to your own in terms of its type, make and engine size.

So whether you drive a small hatchback or a prestige sports car, we will look to provide a similar hire-vehicle that suits your needs.

Manufacturer approved vehicle repairs

If you have been involved in a car accident, the last thing you want to have to worry about is the quality of the repairs to your car. We have a UK wide network of partner approved Accident Repair Centres available to all of our customers.

Many of our accident repair centres are have manufacturer approvals for specific brands, so if you require a manufacturer approved repair centre, simply tell your personal claim handler and they will ensure your vehicle goes to an approved repairer.

Want you vehicle repaired by a specific garage? No problem, we can alternatively use a repairer that you specify.

Legal Assistance

Our partner solicitors provide legal assistance as part of our service. They specialise in motor claims related issues, so you can be assured of the best possible advice and assistance.

They issues they can assist you with include:

  • Recovery of the cost of the replacement hire-vehicle
  • Recovery of the cost of uplifting your damaged vehicle
  • Recovery of all repair costs
  • Recovery of the cost of damaged of personal items
  • Seeking financial compensation for an injury