Some years ago, my car broke down on the A406. I rang the break down company and was advised to wait in the car.

After looking at how others were driving and thinking about it further, I got out of the car and stood between the metal bars in the middle of the road that separated the cars travelling in different directions.

People often don’t look well or drive slowly enough to react quickly when they need to act/stop etc.

The driver of a van saw that my car was stationary but he realised too late! He had to break hard to avoid hitting my car and 2 other cars nearly went into him. The sound and sight of it was terrifying! It was OK but it could have a different scenario altogether!

Can YOU do anything to encourage break down companies to advise those who are in a broken down vehicle differently? Do you have a few minutes to forward even this post to your MP? All you have to do is visit, add your postcode and then you can press one button and send a message to your Councillors, London Assembly Members & Member of Parliament.

The message I received by email today prompted me to write this post.

Here is that message: –

I have been asked to pass on this message to people who drive……..take care.

As most of you now know – my cousin sister died in a car crash on Sunday afternoon.

Can I beg for you all to understand the rules of driving … that if you break down…DO NOT STAY IN THE CAR!!!  This is what Kajal did…however it wasn’t her fault as she broke down the A40 and there was no hard shoulder there….She couldn’t have got out in the middle of the road with cars zooming pass!

A Tow truck went into her whilst she was waiting for the RAC to come and rescue her and she was stationery talking to her dad……had she had not been sitting in the car – her life would have been saved! I am devastated as I only spoke to Kajal on Thursday and she was a little sister I never had!!!

Only this morning whilst I was driving – a car had broken down at Gillette corner – I wound my window down – it was a young guy in a nice car…I asked him are you okay and he goes I called the RAC – I told him to get out of the car as he was sat in it! I told him my cousin died 2 days ago in exactly the same situation as you! He listened to me and got out and carried on with his phone call! He could have potentially saved his life!  Or maybe  I was sent to him to tell him that!

Who knows!

LESSON TO LEARN – if you break down

Get out of the car and walk 50 yards!!!

Click here to read her Tribute

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Sagar · July 17, 2009 at 1:34 am

great reminder. I’d heard the warning from other people before…but hadn’t really thought about it recently.
It’s good to be reminded that bad things can happen when you’re not expecting them.

Caroline Pidgeon AM · July 18, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Dear Heena

Many thanks for writing to the Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly about the dangers of waiting in a broken-down vehicle on busy main roads. As I lead on transport for the LibDem group, I am replying on behalf of my colleagues Dee Doocey and Mike Tuffrey.

I was saddened to hear of the death you describe on the A40 and about your own alarming experience on the A406. It seems to me that we need an advertising campaign to make drivers aware of the extreme dangers of this situation.

The Institute of Advanced Motoring strongly supports your view. Although their advice strictly speaking relates to motorways, it would largely apply to most busy main roads, especially to dual carriageways.

“At the first sign of trouble with your vehicle, slow down gradually, pull over to the far-left side of the hard shoulder, put your hazard warning lights on and turn your steered wheels to the left. If possible, try to stop where other traffic has a clear view of your car – avoid bends or the brow of a hill.

“Put on a high-visibility jacket to increase the chances of other motorists seeing you and move any passengers away from the vehicle via the left-hand side. Behind the motorway barrier and to the rear of the vehicle is safest position to avoid any flying debris if passing traffic strikes your vehicle. Pets and children must also be kept under control.

“Wait well away from the motorway and hard shoulder for help to arrive.”

I shall be contacting the Mayor and Transport for London to find out how many of the deaths in road traffic accidents involve stationary broken-down vehicles and to suggest that a high-profile awareness-raising campaign should be considered.

With best wishes
Yours sincerely
Caroline Pidgeon AM
Chair, Transport Committee, London Assembly.

Sawan Gosrani · July 22, 2009 at 2:08 am

Very very true.

I’ve been advised by breakdown companies to step out of the car and, if on the hard shoulder, then to wait up on the bank (grass verge) and if in the middle of the motorway then to wait in the middle of the 2 bars, but NEVER near or in the car.

Also, everyone should have one of those red triangles in the back of the car. If you don’t have one, BUY ONE! Take it out as soon as you breakdown and it is safe to do so. Set it up so that oncoming traffic can see it. Then get the hell out of the way.

Make sure as soon as you call the breakdown company you call a loved on or close friend to let them know where you are and the situation so that they know what to expect or even when to expect you home. Also let them know the place you are in. E.g, on the motorway, you have the small blue boards with numbers all over them. When you call the breakdown company they will ask you for these numbers. It just helps them find you quicker.

And make sure you give friends or family a quick call once everything is sorted to let them know before you head off, and if you are going with the breakdown people in their van, the registration number of the van and who the person is/looks like. It might seem silly but in this day and age you never know what could happen. Better to be safe than sorry.

    Heena Modi · July 22, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Great tips Sawan.
    Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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