HIGHWAYS Agency traffic officers in the North West are backing a new campaign to cut accidents in the motorway hard shoulder and save lives.
New Surviving the Hard Shoulder leaflets have been produced by SURVIVE – Safe Use of Roadside Verges in Vehicular Emergencies – a partnership comprising the Highways Agency, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and representatives from the breakdown and recovery industry including the AA, RAC and Green Flag.
The aim of SURVIVE is to help improve the safety of those who are required to work on the hard shoulder and members of the public who find themselves on the hard shoulder after a break down or collision.
The new, full-colour illustrated leaflets give tips on how to behave during a hard shoulder breakdown as well as advice on who to call on for help.
Hundreds of the leaflets are set to be handed out over the next few months by on-road patrols from the North West Traffic Officer Service which is run from the North West Regional Control Centre (RCC) on the M6 at Newton-le-Willows.
It is from the RCC that control room traffic officers answer calls from the orange emergency roadside telephones in the hard shoulder.
Calling the RCC from one of the phones – always on the same side of the road as the broken down vehicle – is one of the first things anyone involved in a breakdown should do as calls from boxes ensure traffic officers can quickly find the location of the vehicle.
Standing in the hard shoulder, behind the safety barrier if possible, rather than sitting in the vehicle is also a vital piece of safety advice.
The new leaflets also feature advice for disabled drivers breaking down as well as key dos and don’ts of hard shoulder behaviour.
For example, drivers should never stop in the hard shoulder to use a mobile telephone – nor to go to the toilet, attend to children, check a map, exercise a pet or take a break.
More than half the 340 daily incidents attended by Highways Agency Traffic Officers in the North West are down to mechanical breakdowns or – avoidably – running out of fuel.
Jamie Carr, network operations manager in charge of the North West Traffic Officer Service, said: “The hard shoulder is there for use in an emergency only and the leaflet gives vital advice to anyone who finds themselves in what can be an intimidating situation.”