The RAC has released photographs of an horrific accident to illustrate the dangers that roadside technicians face when attending breakdowns.
The latest incident, which occurred last month on the westbound hard shoulder of the M4 near Swindon, follows two tragic motorway fatalities of roadside operators this year – one on the M25 and one on the M69.
In the latest accident roadside technician Andrew Barrett, an RAC patrol for 14 years, was assisting a motorist whose car had suffered a puncture and was stopped on the hard shoulder near junction 15.
Andrew was changing the wheel on the off-side of the vehicle when another car travelling at speed collided with his patrol vehicle.
The collision was of such force that it rolled the three-tonne patrol vehicle, pushing it along the hard shoulder.
The RAC member is believed to have struck his head and was knocked unconscious as he moved out of the way.
The driver of the car which struck the patrol van, although injured, was able to climb out of his vehicle.
Andrew said: “It was horrific.
“One minute I was changing the customer’s front wheel the next I heard an almighty crunch and looked up to see my van rolling over towards us and the car spinning into the live lane.
“It was not an experience I want to repeat and it certainly shows you can never be complacent when attending a motorway breakdown.”
RAC health and safety consultant, Steve Robinson said: “This was a major accident.
“It is a wonder that nobody was killed.
“This incident serves to show how dangerous it can be for anyone who has to stop on the hard shoulder of a busy motorway.
“We have released these shocking photographs of the RAC patrol van as they clearly demonstrate the need for a new way of thinking when drivers encounter stricken motorists and breakdown operators at the roadside.”
The RAC has launched a campaign to encourage drivers to reduce their speed and increase the gap between their car and any vehicle and people on the hard shoulder.
Steve Robinson added: “The RAC is calling on drivers to ‘slow down, make space and move on’ when passing motorway breakdowns leaving plenty of space between their car and any vehicles and people on the hard shoulder.
“With traffic volumes rising and several recent serious accidents involving roadside assistance patrols and breakdown contractors we need motorists to consider a new approach to how they drive past stricken vehicles, drivers and passengers, and those working in vulnerable locations.”
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