A breakdown is a troublesome event for truck and bus drivers – and one where they need help fast. In the current coronavirus crisis, it is more important than ever for them to get fast support and information on what to do, given the crucial part they play in keeping supplies of urgently needed goods flowing smoothly.
On cross-border trips in particular, drivers can feel lost in the event of a breakdown and need to be aware of the emergency protocols that they should follow. In response, Continental, a technology company and manufacturer of premium tyres, has compiled information for drivers and fleet managers about the different tyre-related breakdown regulations for trucks and buses in 24 European countries.
The document is available for download from Continental’s website (https://www.continental-tyres.co.uk/truck/knowhow) and, in addition to listing the actions drivers should take in the event of a tyre breakdown, also provides contact details for Continental’s Conti360° Breakdown Service hotline in each country.
The information covers the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Ralf Benack, Director Fleet Solutions at Continental’s business region Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), explains how the idea arose: “Initially we were compiling the breakdown regulations for our employees in the Conti360° back offices so that they could advise on safety protocols and regulations in the event of a breakdown, but now we’ve made them available on our website to give drivers and fleet managers a helping hand in an emergency out on the road.”
Special rules apply in Netherlands, Sweden and France
As Continental points out, in some countries, special protocols must also be respected. For example, in the Netherlands, the Rijkswaterstaat authority assesses a breakdown situation with surveillance cameras or from its highway vehicles and calls in a tow truck and/or additional security if required. In France, drivers (and not the fleet’s back office) must push the SOS button themselves to notify the Highway agency; only if the SOS button is not working is the driver allowed to call the police directly. The fleet office cannot notify highway security about the breakdown. And on some of Sweden’s European routes (E4, E16, E18, E20) the law states that a truck-mounted attenuator (TMA) vehicle must be called out to secure the broken-down vehicle.
What to do in the event of a tyre-related breakdown
Continental’s overview of European breakdown regulations shows – country by country – when drivers or fleet managers should involve a third party and the police; who needs to place the call; tyre fitment restrictions; the country-specific authorities; and how Conti360° covers third-party costs, if they are incurred. In addition, Continental recommends taking the following general measures in the event of a breakdown, which, incidentally, also apply to car drivers:
- Stop in the emergency lane (hard shoulder) and turn on your hazard lights
- Put on your reflective safety vest
- Place the warning triangle 50 meters (100 – 150 meters on highways) behind your vehicle
- Take shelter behind the safety barrier and notify the police or third-party assistance
The list also provides contact details for Continental’s Conti360° breakdown service hotline in each country. The Conti 360° service network has 7,500 partners in 37 European countries. In 2019, Continental’s Conti360° breakdown service helped over 29,000 vehicles get back on the road across Europe. Thanks to the 15,000 service vehicles in the Conti360° network, fleet operators and drivers can rely on a fast and professional response – typically getting their vehicles and goods back on the road in just over two and a half hours.
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