You never think it will happen to you, but most people will experience a vehicle breakdown at some time or other. Here’s a simple guide to what to do if your horsebox breaks down.
- If possible, try to get your vehicle to a safe place. This would mean the hard shoulder on a motorway, as close to the left-hand verge as is possible. On smaller roads, a verge or gateway would suffice, away from any bends or blind summits.
2. Warn others
- Switch on your hazard warning lights.
- If you are in a dangerous position in relation to yourself and other traffic, inform the police and Highways Agency via 999/112
- If it is safe to do so, place a hazard triangle or flashing lamp on the side of the road, 45m behind the vehicle. If you are parked on the road close to a bend, someone should warn oncoming traffic before the bend.
- In poor visibility, or darkness, leave the sidelights on.
3. Personal and passenger safety
- Anyone on the road is potentially in danger from other vehicles. Where possible, the police suggest drivers should stay outside the car on the nearest verge. On no account should doors on the same side as the road be used. Be aware of your own safety and wear bright or reflective clothing if you have any.
4. Call your breakdown provider
- Try to determine your location first. Look for a marker post or one of the new Driver Location Signs (http://www.gmp.police.uk/live/Nhoodv3.nsf/WebAttachments/0473041D2093709480257A16003408CF/$File/Driver%20Location%20Signs.pdf).
- If you are a member of Equine Rescue Services, call the freephone emergency number on your membership card.
- If you are not an Equine Rescue Services member, and you are in an emergency situation, call us on 01300 348 997, and we will see what we can do to help.
5. Keep your horses comfortable
NOTE: If you are on a MOTORWAY, you MUST put your safety first and find a safe place away from your vehicle where you can wait. See our article on Understanding A Motorway Breakdown for more information.
- While you’re waiting to be rescued make sure the horses are comfortable and have access to hay and water. Extra supplies of hay and water should always be carried in case of a breakdown or delay in your journey. You should ensure there is adequate ventilation at all times and extra clothing for warmth in the winter. Do not get the horses out of the vehicle.
- If you are in a lorry, stay with your horse if possible. If you are in a trailer, then open the groom’s door, providing it’s away from the traffic and it is safe to do so.