Topic 5 - Incidents

This multiple choice section will clarify what incidents on the road can occur and how to approach these incidents appropriately.

What are incidents on the road?

The fifth topic from the multiple-choice section of the theory test is incidents, accidents and emergencies. Let’s face it, out of all of the topics we’ve looked at so far, this has to be the most straightforward. The roads can be an unpredictable and dangerous place—accidents happen, unfortunately. That’s why it’s important that you know how to respond to these situations safely, from knowing how to report an incident to safely carrying out first aid.


If you’re involved in an accident that causes damage to another person, vehicle, animal, or property, then you’re legally required to stop and give your details to anyone who might require them. This would include:

How to identify breakdowns before they happen

A warning light on your instrument panel is often the first sign that you have an issue with your vehicle. Sometimes this can be something that you still have time to rectify like your petrol running low or sometimes it is an urgent issue that needs dealing with ASAP, such as failing breaks. Use your judgement and if necessary, stop as soon as it is safe to do so and check the problem.


You should always check out any strong smell of fuel. You should never ignore it, instead stop and investigate as soon as you can do so safely.

Tyres bursting

A tyre bursting or getting a puncture while you’re driving can feel very scary but you must remain calm, hold the steering wheel firmly and pull up slowly or roll to a stop at the side of the road. This will help protect you and other road users.


A tyre blowing out when you’re travelling on the motorway is even more alarming. If this or another emergency situation happens while you’re on a motorway, you should try to get onto the hard shoulder. Don’t use your mobile phone, instead find your nearest emergency phone, using the marker posts and call for help.


If you break down an operator will ask you;

Level Crossings

If you break down on a level crossing, try not to panic. Instead; get everyone out of the vehicle and clear of the crossing quickly and calmly before calling the signal operator from the emergency phone provided. You should only move your vehicle if the operator tells you to do so.


You must wait to cross a level crossing if the red signal is flashing, even if it continues to flash after a train has gone. This is because another train may be coming and you would be placing yourself, your passengers and people on the train in danger.

Understanding and avoiding potential dangers;

How to warn others?

If you have broken down then you should alert other road users, firstly to keep them safe and also to prevent traffic jams occurring. The most frequent way to notify people is by using your hazard warning lights. You should use them when your vehicle is temporarily blocking traffic or to notify users of an incident ahead on a motorway or high-speed road. In the event of this, you should turn them off as soon as the traffic behind you has reacted to your lights.

The Right Equiptment

Carrying the right equipment can help reduce the danger of a situation. Carrying a first aid kit, a warning triangle and a fire extinguisher in your car can be helpful for use in an emergency as it could help to prevent or lessen an injury. You shouldn’t take unnecessary risks; you may be able to put out a small fire, for example, but stay safe and know your limitations.

Warning Triangle

A warning triangle can help alert other road users to danger or hazards, if you broke down. If you have one you should place it at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your vehicle. You should never place a warning triangle on a motorway as passing traffic poses too much of a risk.

Call For Help

Debris on the motorway can be extremely dangerous. If you are driving on one and see something fall from another vehicle, or if anything falls from your own you should never attempt to retrieve yourself. Instead, you should stop at the next emergency telephone and report the hazard to the police.