Broken down on the highway? Adopt the right reflexes with the SOS autoroute app
Breakdowns can happen! On the freeway, there's no need to open the hood and get out the toolbox. Your first instinct should be to get to safety and leave it to the assistance services to get you out of a jam. Your best ally is your cell phone and the SOS autoroute app. In the event of a breakdown on the freeway, here's what to do.
Suddenly: a strange noise, smoke coming out of the hood, a red light coming on, and then it's a breakdown! Whether you're on your own or with your family, it's essential to respect certain safety rules for yourself and for other vehicles travelling at high speed:
- Signal your breakdown by switching on your hazard warning lights. If the condition of your vehicle allows it, park as far to the right as possible on the hard shoulder, leaving enough room for passengers to get out. On freeways, never use your safety triangle.
- Contact the emergency services once your vehicle has stopped on the hard shoulder. There are several ways to do this: press the call button on the SOS autoroute app, or go to the orange emergency call point, which can be found at all rest areas and every 2 km or less along the freeway. You can also call 112, the European emergency number. On the freeway, only an authorized breakdown mechanic is authorized to intervene. He will be sent to you by the freeway security service.
- Put on your mandatory fluorescent yellow vest and position yourself behind the guardrails. Exit passengers through the right-hand doors. Leave pets in your car. Wait outside your vehicle for the tow truck, which takes an average of 30 minutes to respond.
If you break down on the freeway, there's no need to abandon your car and walk to an emergency call point! The SOS Autoroute app
app makes it possible to reproduce the operation of a call point... but without getting out of your vehicle! The APRR-AREA and ALIAE networks use the SOS Autoroute system.
Free and easy to use, the SOS app is available free of charge on :
The SOS Autoroute app uses your cell phone's geolocation functions to send out an emergency call and report your position to the emergency services, so that they can intervene more quickly, usually in less than 30 minutes. It can also be used to report an emergency that does not concern your vehicle, but that of another motorist.
If you are safely behind the guardrail, press the call button and fill in the emergency information. Outside the coverage area, your call will be redirected directly to 112.
Please note that intervention rates by authorized freeway breakdown services are set by decree of the French Ministry of the Economy. These prices include on-the-spot breakdown and repair (excluding supplies) if possible, or towing to the garage of your choice. Please note that rates are higher between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It's up to you to contact your insurance company's assistance service, which may be able to cover the cost, depending on your policy.
There are four types of breakdown service:
- On-site, if the intervention time does not exceed 30 minutes,
- Towing to a service helper to carry out the repair,
- Towing to the breakdown mechanic's garage,
- Towing to a garage or location of your choice within 5 km of the freeway exit.
In the event of a breakdown or accident on the freeway, numerous information systems are in place to alert motorists and encourage them to remain vigilant. Every year, there are some 200,000 interventions by safety teams on French freeways (source ASFA 2022). Numerous safety procedures are in place to protect these personnel when they are working on a roadway where motorists are driving at high speed: illuminated arrows, narrowing bollards, warnings on illuminated signs, radio announcements on FM freeways...
But are you familiar with the safety corridor rule? This safety rule, which has been included in the Highway Code since 2018, is still little known by motorists. In the event of a signaled intervention by motorway personnel, it is compulsory to slow down, change lanes or get as far away as possible from the damaged or broken-down vehicle. Failure to comply with this rule is punishable by a fine of 135 euros.
While the freeway remains the safest roadway, it's important to respect the rules for everyone's safety. Fulli wishes you a safe journey with its solutions to make the most of your mobility.