Nearly 80% of UK drivers would “unknowingly put themselves in danger” after breaking down on the motorway and stopping on the hard shoulder, RAC research finds.
By Russell Hope, News reporter @SkyRussHope1
Police have released pictures of a car that was wrecked when a van drove into it from behind as it was parked on the roadside having broken down, and warned drivers of the dangers of stopping in a “dangerous place”.
In a timely post on X ahead of the holiday travel rush, Essex Police urged drivers to always get out of their car if they have to stop unexpectedly.
The message said: “ALWAYS GET OUT TO SAFETY IF YOU BREAK DOWN IN A DANGEROUS PLACE.
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“Thankfully the driver of this Focus which broke down in a lit area of the A13 at Stanford Le Hope did just that before calling 999 whilst warning approaching traffic.
“Sadly, a van driver wasn’t paying attention and collided into it, propelling both into the bushes,” the force added in a second tweet carrying an image of the equally wrecked van.
“Thankfully”, it added, “there were no serious injuries and the driver will be dealt with for careless driving.”
It comes as the RAC said nearly 80% of UK drivers would “unknowingly put themselves in danger” after breaking down on the motorway and stopping on the hard shoulder.
Research by the motoring organisation found only a fifth (22%) of the 1,900 drivers surveyed would do the right thing after breaking down on a motorway on a cold and wet winter’s night by standing to the rear of their vehicle and as far as possible from traffic, ideally behind a barrier if there was one.
“Frighteningly”, the RAC added, “11% said they would stay in their vehicle, leaving them at great risk of being seriously injured or killed if another vehicle were to hit them”.
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Two-thirds (65%) of drivers would also unwittingly put themselves at risk by standing either in front of or next to their car, where they could be hit in the event of another driver colliding with their broken-down vehicle.
The data reflects reports from nearly 200 RAC patrols where the organisation added, “who found 78% of drivers they have attended who had broken down on motorways were still in their vehicles when they arrived,” the RAC said on its website.
Two patrols even put together a video highlighting exactly how people should get out of their vehicles and where they should stand, which is shared with all RAC members who are unfortunate enough to break down on a motorway.
Festive getaway traffic is expected to peak earlier than normal this year as Christmas Day falls on a Monday.
William Turner is a seasoned U.K. correspondent with a deep understanding of domestic affairs. With a passion for British politics and culture, he provides insightful analysis and comprehensive coverage of events within the United Kingdom.