Reader email: Why’s it taking so long to better protect roadside technicians?

GW reader concerned at lack of progress to improve safety for breakdown and recovery operators

Reader email: Why’s it taking so long to better protect roadside technicians?
Image: Bigstock.

I have been working roadside breakdown for many years now, for various clubs and agents in the city and the South West.

It suits me but conditions are poor.

When on a job, I use my van’s safety cones to help protect the scene, only to find that they have moved because passing vehicles are clipping them.

I sometimes find myself working in Cornwall where there aren’t any hard shoulders and lots of blind bends, hidden dips and hill crests.

The problem being, that not every breakdown is in the safety of a lay-by.

“Too close for comfort”

Despite using cones and making myself visible from a distance, I often encounter cars passing too close for comfort.

Other times, cars have actually pulled up behind the cones because they’re not paying proper attention.

On one particularly dangerous occasion, the owner of the broken-down vehicle told me that the police didn’t stay with them because it was “too dangerous”.

Later that week and at the same location, whilst setting up the emergency tow, a police officer did thankfully stop in a safety fend position and followed us to the nearest place of safety.

You see, amber warning lamps and beacons have little impact on passing traffic – unlike blue and red lights.

“Why isn’t more being done?”

The Slow Down and Move Over campaign is helping to raise awareness but why isn’t more being done to implement new regulations to protect us?

Afterall, when Prince Philip had an accident on his estate in Norfolk recently the road regulations on that road were changed within a day.

Why can’t the regulations regarding all roadside workers be changed more swiftly?

The author of this reader email has asked to remain anonymous.

Have you or anyone you know experienced a close call while out on recovery? Share your concerns and experiences below or email [email protected].

Home Page Forums Reader email: Why’s it taking so long to better protect roadside technicians?

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  • #177127 Reply

    I know exactly how you feel. I’ve worked in the industry almost 2 decades. I started on the road in a service van, worked up to the larger vehicles on fleet and finally to Recovery Manager. I now deal with all the drivers and many of them comment on how close vehicles get to them when attempting to deal with casualty vehicles at the roadside.
    Something needs to be done and soon, before a major incident happens.
    It doesn’t just affect our industry. It affects anyone working at the roadside. I cannot understand why the likes of the large Telecomms and Gas companies and the like are not on board with SDMO. Their influence could help the cause no ends.

    #177149 Reply

    I feel sure that motorists would take more notice of amber lights if they were not so often used unnecessarily.
    For instance in this area we have a window cleaner who has 5 flashing amber lights on his van.
    Even when parked in a marked parking bay he has them all going while he is window cleaning in somebody’s front garden.

    #177152 Reply
    Eddie Bamber

    I’m retired now but I worked in the roadside assistance industry for over 40 years. Some of my colleagues were killed or injured during that time. Sadly, I doubt that things will change with regard to passing motorists, sometimes they gave nowhere to move over to. When I’m out in my car now and I’m passing a roadside assistance vehicle, I prepare myself fir the fact that someone could walk out in front of me unexpectedly. The answer for now lies with the operators themselves to remain vigilant at all times when working at the roadside, or to immediately move the casualty vehicle to a safer place before working on it.

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