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How to Handle Breakdowns: Practical Tips for Staying Calm and Safe on the Road
Real Life Stories Episode 9225th January 2024 • The Driving Confidence Podcast • Kev & Tracey Field
00:00:00 00:16:26

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In this episode, Kev and Tracey discuss the topic of breakdowns. Tracey shares personal experiences of her own car breakdowns, highlighting the importance of being prepared and having the right resources at hand.

We chat about:

  • The reassurance of having break down cover
  • Being prepared with essentials in the car 
  • Keeping your car maintained

While listening to this episode, ask yourself:

  • What concerns do you have about breaking down?
  • How could you prepare to alleviate some of those concerns?
  • Have you tried out What 3 Words?

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Transcripts

Speaker:

Audio 1breaking down: So in this

episode, this is gonna be one of

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:

our how to episodes, isn't it,

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:

Audio 2breaking down: Yeah, we're, this

is the one where we talk about breakdowns

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:

and what to do, you know, how to.

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:

What happens if you break down?

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:

Audio 1breaking down: Yeah, definitely.

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:

And we got the, actually this,

the idea for this one has

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been on the list for ages.

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:

Ever since I last broke down.

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And I say I last broke down because it's

not unusual for me to break down actually.

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Audio 2breaking down: No, I

mean you've got an older car.

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Yeah.

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It's not as new as it was.

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But it's reliable.

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As much as cars can be.

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But, in the family, you're

the only car that breaks

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Audio 1breaking down: Yes.

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Audio 2breaking down: I've

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Audio 1breaking down: I think

I've broken down more than

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anybody else

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yeah, we

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Audio 2breaking down: two.

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So yeah, we tend to get a phone

call, broken down, exhaust

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fallen off, or something

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah,

something along those lines.

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So, let's, I'll share the story of

what happened last time, which was

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exactly that, my exhaust fell off.

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But there

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Audio 2breaking down: there was no,

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Audio 1breaking down: no,

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Audio 2breaking down:

Sound before, wasn't it?

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Audio 1breaking down: Well, you say that.

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Actually, we'd done the school run an

hour before, picked up the grandkids and

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I, and both of us were in the car and

went, oh, that sounds a little bit sporty.

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But that was the first time.

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So we'd driven to the school,

it was absolutely fine.

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And then driving home from the school, it

was like, oh yeah, The exhaust is making

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a noise, that sounds a little bit sporty,

best ring the garage, get that looked at.

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But actually we didn't have time because

then when I was taking the grandchildren

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home, I was on a roundabout going

round and roundabout and then clonk.

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Audio 2breaking down:

the exhaust fell off.

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The

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Audio 1breaking down: exhaust fell off!

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Fall off.

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It did well, it didn't fall off.

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It didn't fall off completely

because that would've been easy.

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So I knew exactly what had happened

because it's the second time that

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I've had an exhaust fall off a car.

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So the first time I had an

exhaust fall off, I was like,

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oh my God, what's happening?

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And the, because the noise was horrendous

and, um, I didn't know what was going on,

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but this time I knew exactly what it was.

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So I managed to.

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Get off to the side of the road really,

really quickly, because it's important

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not to keep driving with your exhaust

falling off, because if you don't know

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which end has fallen off, which you

don't when you're driving, you've no

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idea what sort of damage that's going to

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Audio 2breaking down: No, that could

cause other damage, more expense, bigger

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breakdown, you know, and you're out.

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You're without a car for longer.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah, and a new

exhaust isn't actually that big a deal.

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So I did manage to get us all safely

to the side of the road, and had

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to get the kids out of the car,

had to have a look at what was

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going on, had to make phone calls,

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and actually

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one

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of the big things was that I didn't

have my reading glasses with me.

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Now I can't tell you how

many problems that caused me.

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That was actually my biggest

problem of the whole event because

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I couldn't read my phone properly.

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. , our daughter was with me at that point,

so luckily she was able to look at

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my phone and do some of the bits that

the, the, the breakdown cover app

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on my phone required me to fill in.

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I would have been useless without

my glasses, so thankfully I

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did have some help with that.

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So that's number one lesson learnt for me.

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I then went out, bought myself a cheap

pair of reading glasses that lived.

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in the glove compartment, so

that I've always got a car

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pair of reading glasses now.

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Audio 2breaking down: Just in case.

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Audio 1breaking down: Just in case.

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Audio 2breaking down: But the other thing

there is that you had breakdown cover.

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You know, I speak to a lot of people

and obviously a lot of students pass

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and I say to them once they've passed

or, you know, if they get in their

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new car where they're practicing and

I say, have you got breakdown cover?

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Uh, no, I don't know as my dad

got it and mom got it for me.

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I don't know.

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And I think one of The things

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that really helps people is the fact

that they know they have breakdown

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cover and it's not that expensive.

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There is ranges and there is

expensive ones and there is

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European cover and whatever.

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But get a simple.

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breakdown cover.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah,

I would not be without it.

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It saved me on numerous occasions.

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So yeah, absolutely.

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It really is.

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I know that Breaking Down is one of those.

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themes that comes out for

nervous and anxious drivers.

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It's one of those themes that comes

out for the what if questions.

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What if I break down?

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What if this happens?

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What if that happens?

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So having breakdown cover

is just one of those.

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Easy answers, easy solutions to that,

and I've called the breakdown cover out

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when I've been on my own and I've had

a puncture, and I need my tyre changed,

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and I'm in my work uniform, and I can't

even consider, actually, I can't even

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consider changing a tyre now anyway,

my hands and arms just will not do it.

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Part

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Audio 2breaking down: now anyway, my

hands and arms just will not do it.

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And most times when people break down,

it's at the most inconvenient time.

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Audio 1breaking down: Always.

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Audio 2breaking down: Nighttime, rush

hour, um, you're in the nice clothes,

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your work clothes, so you don't want

to be messing around changing tires

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because you're going to get dirty.

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Um, so that is quite an important thing.

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Get whoever your breakdown

cover is, to do the work for you.

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So yes, you are going to be less anxious,

as long as you know you've got that cover.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah, if

you know that help is on its

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Audio 2breaking down: way.

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Exactly, and I think sometimes

as well, these apps have got

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better because they tell you, your

recovery is going to be 35 minutes.

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The recovery text you as well.

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I'm here.

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Just want to check to

make sure where you are.

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So there is that communication that

goes on, but also knowing what to

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do when you break down as well.

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So like on, I know we've touched on

motorways before, but if you break

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down on a motorway, what do you do?

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If you break down on a dual

carriageway, what do you do?

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If you break down in the town?

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What are you going to do?

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So just have a think about, do

I understand what I need to do?

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah, and the

priority is always making sure that

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everybody in the car is safe, and

if possible getting your car in the

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safest place for everybody else as

well and then it is calling for help.

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Audio 2breaking down: Yes, and that's

the first thing is thinking about You

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and your passengers and making sure

they're safe because what you don't want

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to do is cause hassle to other people

and that is, you know, get yourself

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safe if it's on a motorway, pull into

one of the leave of the hard shoulder

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or one of those parking places, break

down places and get over the barrier,

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Audio 1breaking down: Yes.

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Audio 2breaking down: you know, don't

stay on the carriageway, get out the

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car and get out into a safe place.

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If it's in a town, make sure you can try

and pull over somewhere that is safe.

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So again, you're not In those

situations causing problems, um,

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unfortunately, sometimes these do

happen and there is nothing you can do.

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Audio 1breaking down: Absolutely,

and I saw a breakdown last week

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actually, and the guy had to, he

was, he was in the middle lane on a

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:

roundabout, couldn't move the van.

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But he put his high vis on, he was

standing, um, he obviously didn't

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have a red triangle, but he'd got

this great big van and he was standing

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:

there with his high vis so that

people could see that actually the

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van wasn't going anywhere so that they

didn't get too tight up behind them.

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But this is where your

warning triangles come in.

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If you've got a spare

high vis in the car, then.

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That's something that's useful to put

on so that you're visible on the side of

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the road or, you know, as you're getting

out of your car, vehicle, whatever it

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Audio 2breaking down: Yeah, and

also, you know, this time of year,

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this is going out in the new year.

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The weather is not fantastic.

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Take coats with

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah.

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Making sure we always put a

coat in the car just in case.

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So that level of preparation,

what might you need?

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So I now have my reading glasses

in the car all of the time.

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They live in the car, they don't come out.

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And yeah, making sure you've got coats

with you just in case appropriate

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shoes with you, just in case.

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All of those

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Audio 2breaking down: Yeah, which

leads us quite nicely on to also,

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, before you start the journeys,

you know, I think preparation,

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I'm going to jump in really quickly

here because there's one thing

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that Kevin and I didn't think

about to mention in this episode,

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and I was having a chat with somebody I

know about a week after we'd recorded and

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they asked whether we'd included the app.

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What three words in this episode?

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And we hadn't and I promised that I would,

so if you haven't already got what, three

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words on your device, then take a look

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because they sappy is incredibly helpful.

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If you do break down and find it

difficult to describe where you are.

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To somebody, if you want to get help.

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And what three words does, is it breaks?

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The whole of the UK down

into three meter squares.

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And gives that three

meter precise location.

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Three unique words that you can

then share with your breakdown,

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cover with emergency services.

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With friends and family, whoever it

is that you're asking for help from.

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So that they're able to find

you and help you because they

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know precisely where you are.

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So it's really easy to sign up.

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You can sign in with.

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Google Facebook, all the usual things.

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So yeah, I really recommend that

you take a look at the app that

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could be really helpful for you.

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Audio 2breaking down: you know, we've

talked about planning our journey and

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again, other people know where you are.

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So if something does happen, they know

the vicinity where you are as well.

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So they can get to you, maybe

not be a breakdown cover.

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It might be dad or some partner

coming out to you just to keep you

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company because if your electrics have

gone, you can't put your hazards on.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yep.

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Audio 2breaking down: So someone else

there can hold the traffic back from you

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to keep you safe, put their hazards on.

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But it also goes back to

checking your vehicle.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yes.

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Audio 2breaking down: You know, I've

Your incident with the exhaust was

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let's get it flicked into the garage.

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Never actually got to the

garage because we didn't have

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time, but that's very unusual.

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Normally it's a, with an

exhaust, it's a continuous and

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gets worse and worse and worse.

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, but how often do you check your car?

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How often do you check your tires?

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And when I check the tires,

it's not just kicking them.

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You know, check the tire pressures.

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Have a look at the tires.

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Is, is the condition of the tires okay?

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You know, have you got enough screen wash?

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Have you got the topped up fluids?

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Is your oil okay?

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And these are the sort of things, the

basic tasks that you can do that

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are going to help your car run.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah.

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Reduce the risk.

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Audio 2breaking down: Yeah,

it also keeps you safe.

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It's part of the MOT as well.

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, so it's not just you as well.

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It keeps others safe on the road.

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And that's what I say to

people is keep your car safe.

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You have a responsibility.

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Some things go wrong and

you still break down.

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But what you've done is you've

reduced that risk, haven't you?

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah,

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And making sure that your

car is regularly serviced.

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And we have a great relationship

with our local garage, don't we?

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So I know that I can

just ring up and say, hi.

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It's me,

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Audio 2breaking down: They go, again?

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Audio 1breaking down: again.

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. And they do their best.

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You know, we work really well

together to keep us on the road.

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Audio 2breaking down: and they,

if you find a good garage, what

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happens is they give you advice.

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Yeah.

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You know, they'll say, look, The

tires are getting a little bit lower.

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What we want to do is book you in.

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The mileage you do, it's

going to be about two months.

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Let's book you in to get your new tires

in in a month's time or something.

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So you're building those relationships.

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You're getting your

car regularly serviced.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah.

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And you know who to ask for, for help.

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Audio 2breaking down: Yeah, and

if you have that relationship,

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they're just going to ask.

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They'll say, oh wait, what

you need to do is this.

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You know, I think being in a, having

that relationship with a garage

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that you can trust is important.

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Audio 1breaking down:

Yeah, very important.

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I think the final thing I'd like to

say on this is I really recognised

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that because I had had past experiences

of breaking down, that for me, this

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wasn't a situation that made me

feel nervous or anxious in any way.

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It was just like, oh, here we go again.

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But I did, while I was waiting for the

breakdown van to come, I did recognise

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that is a situation that could be

anxiety making for a lot of people.

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When it's something you haven't done

before, when there's an unknown, anything

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that has that level of uncertainty

is going to make you feel nervous.

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, but if you become an expert at it, if you

become a regular, then it soon becomes

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something that is water off a duck's back.

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Audio 2breaking down:

Yeah, I won't say the norm.

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But it is, you know, you know what to do.

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Um, and then think about it as well.

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If it's never happened to

you, what would you do?

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah.

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So

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Audio 2breaking down: that's

the message, isn't it?

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It's

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah,

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Just that planning, having to think about

it, not dwelling on it, not worrying

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about it, but having to think about

what might you need and what would make

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that experience less anxiety provoking.

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Audio 2breaking down: I mean we could go

into more details, but it's it's about

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you feeling calmer if that happens.

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Audio 1breaking down: Yeah, absolutely.

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Okay, so I hope you found that useful and

I hope that maybe that resonates with you

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in some way, either because you've got

your own breakdown story or because it's

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something that you're worried about, so

hopefully that will help you allay some

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of those fears and maybe take some action.

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Remember to share the episode with anybody

else that you feel might find it useful.

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And if you'd like to get in

touch, then our contact details

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are in the show notes as always.

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And so all that leaves us to do

is to say until next time, have a

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great day, whatever you're doing.

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