Stall or breakdown procedure

If the vehicle stalls or breaks down on the highway, quickly and calmly act to protect the passengers and other motorists.

  • Stop as far off the roadway as possible.
  • If you cannot find and repair the trouble, remain with the vehicle and ask a responsible person to find help.
  • Set out appropriate flares, lamps, lanterns or portable reflectors as required by the Highway Traffic Act at a distance of approximately 30 metres (100 ft) in advance of the vehicle and 30 metres (100 ft) to the rear. They must be visible from 150 metres (500 ft) in each direction.

In a collision where someone is injured

St. John Ambulance recommends that all drivers carry a well-stocked first-aid kit and know how to use it. School buses must be equipped with a first-aid kit. Consider reading a book about first aid or taking a course. It could mean the difference between life and death in a collision.

Every driver involved in a collision must stay at the scene or return to it immediately and give all possible assistance. If you are not personally involved in a collision, you should stop to offer help if police or other officials have not arrived.

In a collision with injuries, possible fuel leaks or serious vehicle damage, stay calm and follow these steps:

  1. Call for help or have someone else call. By law, you must report any collision to the police when there are injuries or damage to vehicles or other property exceeding $2,000.
  2. Turn off all engines and turn on emergency flashers. Set up warning signals or flares, and have someone warn approaching drivers.
  3. Do not let anyone smoke, light a match or put flares near any vehicle, in case of a fuel leak. If any of the vehicles is on fire, get the people out and make sure everyone is well out of the way. If there is no danger of fire or explosion, leave injured people where they are until trained medical help arrives.
  4. If you are trained in first aid, treat injuries in the order of urgency, within the level of your training. For example, clear the person’s airway to restore breathing, give rescue breathing or stop bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth.
  5. If you are not trained in first aid, use common sense. For example, people in collisions often go into shock. Cover the person with a jacket or blanket to reduce the effects of shock.
  6. Stay with injured people until help arrives.
  7. Disabled vehicles on the road may be a danger to you and other drivers. Do what you can to make sure everyone involved in a collision is kept safe.

In a collision where no one is injured

Follow these steps in a collision where there are no injuries:

  1. If the vehicles are driveable, move them as far off the road as possible — this should not affect the police officer’s investigation. This is especially important on busy or high-speed roads where it may be dangerous to leave vehicles in the driving lanes. If you cannot move the vehicles off the road, set up warning signals or flares far enough away to give other traffic time to slow down or stop.
  2. Call police (provincial or local, depending on where the collision takes place). By law, you must report any collision to the police where there are injuries or damage to vehicles or property exceeding $2,000.
  3. Give all possible help to police or anyone whose vehicle has been damaged. This includes giving police your name and address, the name and address of the regis­tered owner of the vehicle, the vehicle plate and permit number and the liability insurance card.
  4. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses.
  5. If damage is less than $2,000, you are still required by law to exchange information with anyone whose vehicle has been damaged. However, the collision does not have to be reported to the police.
  6. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible if you intend to make a claim.


There are five common causes of vehicle fires:

  1. Leaking fuel
  2. Electrical shorts
  3. Overheated brakes
  4. Under-inflated/flat tire
  5. Wheel-bearing failure.

All buses and school buses are required to carry an adequate fire extinguisher. Every driver should know how to use the fire extinguisher.

Remember in case of fire:

  1. Remove passengers from the vehicle quickly and in an orderly manner.
  2. Direct passengers to a safe place.


By the end of this section, you should know:

  1. What to do in emergency situations when your vehicle stalls or breaks down
  2. The steps to take if you are involved in a collision with or without injuries