How to Handle Emergency Situations on the Road: A Beginner’s Guide

Published by BDS London Marketing on

Driving is a skill that not only requires practice but also preparedness, especially when it comes to handling unexpected emergencies on the road. For learner drivers, the prospect of facing such situations can be daunting. This article aims to equip you with the knowledge and strategies necessary to confidently manage emergency scenarios, drawing on the latest statistics and expert advice.

Understanding the Likelihood of Emergencies

According to the Department for Transport, in 2019, there were approximately 153,158 road traffic accidents reported in Great Britain that resulted in injury or worse. While not all of these incidents were emergency situations, this statistic underscores the importance of being prepared for any possibility on the road.

1. Breakdowns

One of the most common emergencies for new drivers is experiencing a breakdown. The RAC reports that they attended over 1.5 million breakdowns in 2020 alone. To handle a breakdown safely:

  • Move to Safety: If possible, pull over to a safe location away from traffic.
  • Signal Your Intentions: Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
  • Stay Inside the Car: If you’re on a busy road, it’s safer to remain inside your vehicle until help arrives.

2. Tire Blowouts

Tire blowouts can be a frightening experience, particularly at high speeds. Data from the AA shows that tire issues account for up to 10% of all breakdowns.

  • Maintain Control: Grip the steering wheel firmly and steer straight ahead.
  • Avoid Braking Abruptly: Decelerate slowly until the car is under control.
  • Pull Over Safely: Once controlled, guide your car gently to the side of the road.

3. Accidents Involving Other Vehicles

Being involved in an accident, no matter how minor, is a serious matter. In 2019, the Department for Transport noted that minor injuries constituted a significant portion of all road casualties.

  • Check for Injuries: Ensure all parties involved are safe.
  • Alert Authorities: Contact the police and, if necessary, medical services.
  • Exchange Information: Swap details with the other driver, including contact, vehicle, and insurance information.

4. Pedestrian Incidents

Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users. In 2020, there were over 14,000 pedestrian casualties in road accidents in the UK.

  • Be Vigilant at Pedestrian Crossings: Always slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Maintain a Safe Speed: Especially in urban areas or near schools.

5. Adverse Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions significantly increase the risk of accidents. According to the Met Office, rain, fog, and icy conditions contribute to more than 20% of road accidents.

  • Adjust Your Driving: Reduce your speed and increase your stopping distance.
  • Use Appropriate Lights: Use fog lights in foggy conditions and keep your headlights on in rain or snow.


While the thought of encountering emergencies on the road can be intimidating, being prepared can significantly reduce the risks associated with these situations. For learner drivers, it’s crucial to not only learn how to drive but also how to respond to emergencies confidently. At our driving school, we emphasize safety and preparedness, teaching our students the necessary skills to handle any situation on the road. Remember, safe driving is not just about following rules; it's about being ready for the unexpected.

By staying informed and practicing these tips, you'll be better prepared to handle the challenges of the road safely and effectively.

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