Most drivers put themselves in danger during motorway breakdowns, a survey suggests.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of motorists said they would stand in front of or next to their car, an RAC poll indicated.

One in 10 (11%) respondents said they would stay in their vehicle.

The RAC warned that these actions put people at risk in the event of another driver colliding with their broken-down vehicle.

Only a fifth (22%) of those surveyed said they would follow safety guidance, which is to stand to the rear of their vehicle and as far as possible from traffic, ideally behind a barrier.

If someone cannot easily get out, they should keep their seatbelt on and call 999.

Reports from nearly 200 RAC patrols revealed that 78% of drivers they have assisted on motorways were still in their vehicles when they arrived.

RAC patrols James Pallister and Glen Johnson have created a video to demonstrate what people should do when they break down on a motorway.

Mr Pallister, who is based in North East, said: “Increasingly, when we arrive at the scene of a motorway breakdown we find members still inside their vehicles, or standing next to or in front of them – two of the most dangerous places to be with vehicles approaching at fast speeds.”

Mr Johnson, who works in north-west England, said: “Standing in the wrong place can be the difference between staying safe and being seriously injured, or worse.

“Our number one priority is ensuring our members stay safe on the roads, so we’re always looking for new ways to communicate the right thing to do after breaking down.”

RAC spokeswoman Alice Simpson said: “In cold wet weather, it’s very tempting for anyone who breaks down on a motorway to stay in their cars.

“Sadly, we know from experience this is absolutely the wrong thing to do unless for some reason you aren’t able to get out of the vehicle.

“This is why we are always reminding people to pack plenty of layers, good waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear so they can keep warm while they wait for help.”

Drivers who get into difficulties on motorways are advised to pull over onto the hard shoulder, or an emergency refuge area if on a smart motorway without a hard shoulder.

The safety of people whose vehicles have broken down has been central to the debate over smart motorways.

Derek Jacobs, 83, died when his van was hit by a car on the M1 near Sheffield in March 2019 after he had stopped in the live inside lane following a tyre blow-out and got out of his vehicle.

The front seat passenger in the Ford Ka that hit the van, Charles Scripps, 78, died in hospital two months after the collision.

– The survey of 1,900 UK drivers was carried out for the RAC by research company Online95 between October 18 and 29. The figures were weighted to be nationally representative.


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