The Shortest 11 Minutes Of Your Life

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By Georgina Bailey
Marketing Executive

It has been reported by the Highway Agency that the average times before a car is hit by another when it has stopped on the hard shoulder is 11 minutes.

The main reasons why a car ends up on the hard shoulder are:

  • Tyre Damage & Blow Outs
  • Run Out of Fuel
  • Breakdowns
  • Car Collisions

We hope you never find yourself on the hard shoulder and to help make sure that doesn’t happen you should take precautions before starting your journey.

Tyre Damage & Blow Outs

It is important to always check your vehicles tyre tread regularly and especially before long journeys, the legal tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm but safety experts believe that it is insufficient to guarantee safety. Test carried out by MIRA a UK technical organisation found that once tyres are below 3mm the stopping distance increases dramatically. One easy way to check your tyre tread before a journey is the 20p test – Just take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre, if you can’t see the outer band then your tyres are above the legal limit. It is plausible that you will come across debris on the road that can cause blowouts but ensuring your vehicle tyres are in the best condition will help.

Run Out of Fuel

It is reported that that one of the biggest reasons that people end up on the hard shoulder is because they run out of fuel. On average there are 8 motorway services on each motor ways, on the longest motor way in the UK the M6 (231 miles) it has 32 motorway services so there are plenty opportunities to refill your vehicle along the way. It is also good practise if you know you are going on a long journey to make sure you have a full tank of fuel before you set off to hopefully ensure that you do not run out.


Breakdowns can sometimes be unpredictable and can just happen with no warning; if you are planning a long journey it is good to check your car before setting off. If your vehicles starts to make strange noises or your warning displays are on it is important to get them checked, it could be quick simple fix and it better to have it checked than risk a breakdown.

Car Collisions

When you set off on a journey I’d expect that you don’t go looking for an accident but there are 25.8million licensed cars in the UK so it bound to happen that there would be accidents on the motorway. Unfortunately there is no advice sometimes to avoid an accident it just keeping to good road safety including:

  • Keeping your stopping distance
  • Maintaining to the speed limit
  • Don’t drive if you are under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Don’t drive if tour are tried or fatigue
  • Always a seatbelt


If you do ever have to stop on the hard shoulder then you should pull as close to the barrier as possible, then you and any passengers should immediately get out of your vehicle and stand behind the barrier, whatever the reason you should not get back into the vehicle, the chances of your vehicle getting hit by passing traffic is very high in this situation. Instead you should walk down to the SOS phone which will connect you to the Highway Agency who will be able to help you.

Have you ever broke down on the motorway? Have you ever witnessed a collision with another vehicle on the motorway? Do you have any interesting stories involving a motorway breakdown? Be sure to head over to social media and let us know @connect_insure on Twitter and @cibltd on Facebook.

Related Articles:
RAC: Checking Tyre Tread
Auto Butler: 11 Minutes on the Hard Shoulder