safety the hard shoulder

don't end up crying on the hard shoulder

safety the hard shoulder

Hard shoulders of busy roads continue to be one of the most dangerous places for motorists to have a breakdown.

While current statistics indicate that the message is getting across and the number of casualties at the roadside decreasing, more than 1,500 people are killed and injured each year on the hard shoulder. Many people continue to be unaware of the risks of being on the hard shoulder of a busy road or motorway, either in a car or on foot.

This is a particular issue for the vehicle recovery organisations, as a spokesman from Green Flag explains. "When people tell us they have broken down, we aim to get to them as quickly as possible. In fact our priority is to get the passengers and vehicle off the hard shoulder and to a safe location. Only when everyone is safe will we attempt any repair."

BRAKE chief executive, Mary Williams O.B.E., adds: "Every death on the hard shoulder is one too many. Anyone who breaks down on a hard shoulder is in a very vulnerable situation and it is vital that they follow essential advice to reduce the risk of them being hurt."

The Highway Code stipulates that you must not stop on the carriageway, hard shoulder, slip road, central reservation or verge except in an emergency, or when told to do so by the police, an emergency sign or by flashing red light.

Common reasons for motorists stopping on hazardous positions include checking their map, using a mobile phone or visiting the toilet. Each of these actions could result in the police issuing a penalty.

If you do have to use the hard shoulder, we'd advise the following:

Park as close to the left as possible and try to stop near an emergency phone if possible

Stop with your steering wheel turned to the left, away from passing traffic

Put on the hazard warning lights to ensure other drivers know you are there

Do not remain inside the vehicle, instead get out by the left-hand side passenger doors and wait on the verge away from the traffic. Stand behind barriers for added protection.

Never attempt repairs on the hard shoulder. If you feel you can repair the vehicle, pull off the motorway into a service area before attempting to do so.