Stopping on the hard shoulder
Home Safety Information Stopping on the Hard Shoulder

Road Safety

Stopping on the Hard Shoulder

It is dangerous to stop on a hard shoulder except in an emergency. If an emergency forces you to stop on a motorway, then following the personal safety tips below may help you to stay safe:

  • Pull onto the hard shoulder and park as far left as possible; near an emergency roadside telephone if you can. Turn on your vehicles hazard warning lights and in poor visibility turn on the side lights as well.
  • Leave your vehicle immediately via the left hand door, making sure that any passengers do the same. You should leave any animals in the vehicle, or keep them under proper control on the verge.
  • Contact Highways England via the emergency roadside telephone if one is located nearby. Always use these in preference to a mobile phone, as your location will be pinpointed on the operator's screen so it will be easier to find you. On the motorways, you will see these spaced at approximately one mile intervals, with roadside markers displaying an arrow pointing you in the direction of the nearest phone.
  • However, if you do have a mobile phone, and there is a good signal, then it may be safer for you to use this to call for assistance rather than walking a significant way along the hard shoulder in order to reach an emergency roadside telephone.
  • Wait well away from the carriageway and hard shoulder for help to arrive. You should never attempt even the simplest of repairs on the hard shoulder.
  • Should you feel at risk from another person, return to your vehicle and enter via the left hand door, fasten your seatbelt and lock all the doors. Leave your vehicle again as soon as you feel the risk has passed.

If you have a disability which prevents you from following the above advice, the Highway Code advises that you should stay in the vehicle, switch on your hazard warning lights and display a "help" pennant. If you have a mobile phone you should dial 999 and advise the emergency services of your location.

If you cannot get your vehicle onto the hard shoulder the Highway Code advises that you:

  • 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.