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What to do if your WAV breaks down

Breaking down mid travel can be a nightmare for any road user but there’s the added worry of being stranded as a disabled person. Fortunately, there are breakdown providers that offer specialist policies for wheelchair users so you can rest assured that you’ll be helped as quickly as possible, and your accessibility needs will be met.

Breakdowns are stressful but try to stay as calm as possible, take deep breaths, and not put yourself in danger. Below is the important info you’ll need when you call for help and our tips for a breakdown.


Information you’ll need when you call for help:
  • Your name
  • Your vehicle registration
  • The type of breakdown you’ve had
  • Exactly where you are
  • That you (or your passenger) use a wheelchair
  • Any urgent medical needs or accessibility requirements

Tips for a breakdown on a road or motorway:
  • If you can, try to get your WAV out of traffic by pulling near to the kerbside, onto a hard shoulder, or into an Emergency Refuge Area (marked by a blue sign with orange SOS symbol).
  • Turn off your engine and switch on your hazard lights.
  • If it’s safe to do so, exit the vehicle and move away from traffic, go behind a motorway safety barrier or onto a roadside pavement – taking anything important like your phone, coat, water, and medication; but leaving any animals inside the vehicle for their safety.
  • If leaving the vehicle will put you in danger, remain in your WAV with your hazards on and keep your seatbelt fastened.
  • If you breakdown on a hard shoulder or refuge area, call the Highways Agency on 0300 123 5000 (if you’re deaf, text them on 0738 028 3600 or use SignLive) and then contact your breakdown cover provider.
  • If there’s no hard shoulder/refuge area, or the hard shoulder is being used as an active lane, and you’re stuck in live motorway traffic unable to move – call 999 immediately (if you’re deaf, use Relay UK), and then contact your breakdown cover provider.
  • If your breakdown assistance manages to fix your WAV, take great care joining the road again.

Watch National Highways’ guide to WAV breakdowns…

For more information, read the National Highways guide to motorway breakdowns.


Motability Breakdown Cover

If you lease your WAV on the Motability Scheme, you’ll have breakdown cover included in your lease. Motability breakdown cover is provided by RAC Motability Assist and includes roadside assistance and help if you can’t get your WAV started at home.

If you break down, the RAC will try to help you fix your WAV at the roadside; if this is not possible, they’ll take it to the nearest repairer. If you need help with your onward journey, they’ll arrange transport for up to eight people to a single destination and provide a replacement vehicle. The RAC will pay for accommodation or travel costs of up to £300, if this is required.

The Motability Scheme is a comprehensive and convenient service designed to help you lease a WAV with your mobility allowance. Find out what is included with the Motability Scheme.


If you breakdown on the road and you’re covered by RAC Motability Assist….

Call RAC Motability Assist on 0800 73 111 73, let them know your name, vehicle registration number, your location, what kind of breakdown you’re experiencing, that there is a wheelchair user in your party, and any urgent medical or accessibility needs – they should be with you within 45 minutes.


If breakdown cover is not included in your lease…

If you don’t lease your WAV through the Motability Scheme, we strongly suggest you arrange a specialist breakdown cover policy to ensure you’ll receive the right kind of help as quickly as possible. You can do this either as a bolt-on to your main car insurance policy or by contacting a breakdown cover provider directly. Tell them about your accessibility needs so that, in the event of a breakdown, they know how to help you.


At Cartwright Mobility, we specialise in wheelchair accessible vehicles and are passionate about helping wheelchair users, regardless of their budget, get access to a personal vehicle. This is why we lease WAVs privately and through the Motability Scheme. Equally important to us is helping to give our customers the information to keep them safe and secure on their travels as well as setting up their WAV with the bespoke vehicle adaptations to meet their needs. If you want to find out more about WAVs or need any more help, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to talk to you!


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