This is a photograph of a motorhome that was broken down on the hard-shoulder of the motorway after a lorry had ploughed into the back of it. It belonged to a dog exhibitor; four dogs were killed and one person seriously injured. Seven dogs and two people miraculously survived relatively unscathed. Initial reports were obviously unclear and a lot of supposition occurred but one thing does seem to have come out of it. The unfortunate people involved just didn’t follow accepted procedure for breaking down on a major road. Thing is though how many now would actually do anything different from what those passengers did?
All motorways have emergency phones but if it is a choice of using one of those or sitting in the warm vehicle which would you do? Thing is though those phones are there for a reason because they are the only way the police will know of problems on the road unless you ring them direct on the mobile. As things stand breakdown agencies aren’t under any obligation to tell the police and they don’t monitor Facebook/Twitter/My Space or any other social media site.
The motorhome, a 28 feet tag axle, was a lot bigger vehicle than most people drive but have you got a procedure in place for breakdowns? Do you know what to do or do you just think you know and hope it’ll never happen? First rule of thumb is get out of the car. Leave the dogs in it until you have actually got out, over the crash barrier (or away from the road) and assessed the situation. Where can you stand with dogs? Are you fit enough to scramble up a banking? Can you scramble up the banking with the dogs? Have a look at things first, decide what’s safest and then deal with the dogs. You are far more important than they are!