Breakdown organisations call for ‘slow down, move over’ rule

08.05 | 12 October 2018 | | 6 comments

The UK’s three largest breakdown organisations have joined forces to call for enhanced motorway safety rules to protect recovery patrols and other road users.

The RAC, AA and Green Flag have written to Jesse Norman MP, road safety minister, calling for the introduction of a ‘slow down, move over’ rule when drivers pass a broken down vehicle, or a recovery vehicle with flashing amber beacons.

The call follows several serious incidents involving vehicle recovery staff – including the death of an RAC roadside technician.

In the joint letter, the three organisations say: “We have strengthened our resolve to work together to do all that we can to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

As well as changes to the Highway Code, the trio are calling on the DfT to sponsor a THINK! road safety campaign highlighting the dangers faced by patrols and members of the public whose vehicles have broken down at the roadside.

James Knight, RAC chief operation officer, said: “Working or breaking down at the side of a busy road or motorway is a nerve-racking experience and one we know carries risks.

“We do everything we can to minimise the dangers and to ensure our patrols put their own safety and that of drivers and passengers first.

“But in light of the recent fatalities we now urgently need the Government to work with us to raise awareness of the issue among drivers and to promote a ‘slow down, move over’ message.

“This must be backed by a high-profile publicity campaign and a change to the Highway Code.”

The AA has previously written to Mr Norman suggesting changes to the Highway Code ahead of the new laws, implemented in July, which enable learner drivers to have lessons on motorways – but these recommendations were not adopted.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Standing at the side of a motorway is a frightening experience, but our patrols rescue stranded motorists daily in all weathers. Unfortunately their safety is being compromised by some who drive too fast and too close.

“Between our organisations we have seen too many near misses and too many fatalities caused by this problem. That needs to change quickly.

“Slow down, move over is not a difficult request, but this simple act of kindness will make a world of difference to vulnerable drivers, patrols and road workers alike.”

Damon Jowett, Green Flag head of service delivery, said: “Much investment has been undertaken to allow the continuous flow of traffic on the UK’s major roads, and motorways are becoming more responsive in real time to constantly manage the volumes of road users.

“While this is a positive step in enabling road users to get to their destination more easily, rule changes and greater awareness is needed, to ensure roadside recovery workers on all roads, including motorways and main carriage ways, are not left even more vulnerable.”



Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    Electronic Signal Boards should be placed above traffic high volume routes where practical. Emergency Service vehicle operators can call the operators and report any incident they are involved with so as to warn approaching vehicles of breakdowns and other road factors present.

    Andy Hart, Maryborough Queensland.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It can be seen that in the photograph depicting a break down that the engineer has placed his vehicle as far right as possible on the hard shoulder. As such his vehicle is affording him quite a bit of protection as it would be hit first as opposed to others running into him.

    He appears to have about a metre of space in which to be safe to possibly change an offside tyre which would I guess be the most dangerous position as everything else would require him to be elsewhere out of that danger. That would be the best of a bad circumstances and so I would add some form of illuminating signage with other flashing lights at the rear of his vehicle and on approach to the scene that would stretch the visibility and warning of the obstruction over say 30/40 metres or so.

    Something similar but not the same as the signage put out by Police or Highways staff but something that would be directed to normal drivers by being some 3 ft off the ground and therefore at the same eye level of most drivers and not merely sitting low down on the tarmac and only in the peripheral vision of drivers. Thereby a pre warning where drivers will have an earlier opportunity to see and understand that there is a problem on the hard shoulder ahead.

    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    Its probably more of a reality that drivers cannot see further than the rear of the vehicle in front as opposed to the front of their own vehicle. With that vehicle being so close the following driver would lack any great degree of forward and of peripheral vision as well. As a result the approaching problem associated with breakdowns or the pedestrian that wishes to cross a road will not be seen. Sometimes until it is to late.

    I would think that Tailgating appears to be the problem and as such all three of the rescue companies mentioned who have thousands of members could indeed do something about it themselves by warning their drivers and those thousands of members of this dangerous situation.

    Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

    It’s not limited to motorways either – anyone working in, or on, or in the immediate vicinity of a live highway will have tales of near misses and actual collisions caused by motorists not looking where they’re going ..their vision limited seemingly to no further than the front of their vehicle.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    I am pleased that AA, RAC and Green Flag are showing so much empathy with vulnerable road users who have to stand, work or walk next to high speed traffic.

    Often drivers will only see a stopped vehicle and will not recognise that there may be vulnerable pedestrians in the vicinity of such vehicles.

    Presumably if they wish oncoming drivers to “move over” as well as “slow down” then they do understand that the risk is real and considerable.

    Of course vehicles and vulnerable road users exist throughout our road network and apart from motorways and pedestrian free roads then it is not only AA, RAC and Green Flag employees that are the vulnerable road users but all of the pedestrians on the streets and roads with many of them needing to cross roads and mix with vehicles.

    With WHO, OECD, iRAP, Global Network of Road Safety Legislators all recognising that the safe speed for motor vehicles in places where they mix with pedestrians and cyclists is 30km/h or 20mph then I am pleased that AA, RAC and Green Flag are showing that they do also understand the risks for the vulnerable in the presence of vehicles travelling above such a safe speed.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (1) | Disagree (9)

    I completely agree with a slow down, move over campaign and support this as a ‘should, where practical’ but not a ‘must’ in the Highway Code.

    Stranded motorists and recovery service workers are vulnerable and it can be a pretty scary experience working on the hard shoulder with cars and trucks passing close by at high speed.

    However vehicles trying to move out of the nearside lane on busy motorways can have their own issues and risks.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.