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Using an Emergency Telephone on the Motorway


If you breakdown on any motorway in the UK at least you will not be too far away from an emergency telephone. This means that you can get through to help whether you need breakdown recovery or rescue from the emergency services.

The Highways Agency was established in 1994 as an executive agency of the Department for Transport. lf you breakdown you will be more likely to be helped by the Highways Agency rather than one of the three main emergency services.



What is an Emergency Telephone?

Emergency telephones are usually coloured orange and are located at regular intervals on the motorway network in the UK. These telephones connect you directly to the police force, who in turn will put you through to the Highways Agency Regional Control Centre.

The staff in the Highways Agency Regional Control Centre will ask you what has happened and whereabouts your vehicle is in relation to the phone that you are using. The control centre will then contact the closest patrol and send them to your assistance and they will also send the emergency services if they are needed.

Tips on How to Use an Emergency Telephone

  • Emergency telephones are provided at a regular intervals in the UK emergency telephones are situated at intervals of 1 mile.
  • You should walk to an emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway.
  • The easiest and quickest way to locate an emergency phone is to follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder.
  • Do not worry – you will not need any money to use an emergency telephone – the telephone is free of charge and connects directly to the Highways Agency or the police.
  • You should always use the emergency telephone rather than a mobile phone as you will go through to the correct people sooner meaning that you will be located and helped earlier than if you used your mobile to get assistance.
  • You should always face the traffic when you speak on the phone as you should always be aware of what is happening on the motorway even though you are standing on the hard shoulder making a phone call to get assistance.
  • always try to remember that you should give full details to the Highways Agency or the police of what has happened be it an accident or a breakdown.
  • If there are passengers in your vehicle and they need special assistance let the control centre know as they will try and prioritise your call.
  • If you are travelling alone, again let the control centre, know as they will try and prioritise your call
  • When you are finished the call, you should always return to the vicinity of where your vehicle is. You should wait away from the carriageway and put some distance between you and your vehicle. A live carriageway is a very dangerous place.
  • When waiting on assistance make sure that you have wrapped up warm as you don’t know how long help will take to get to you.

Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.