Highways Agency Traffic Officers in Lancashire came to the rescue of a disabled driver after his car broke down in the live lane of a busy slip road along the M55 near Preston.
Traffic Officers Alison Courtenay, Matt Smith and Jason Dolman and their team manager Henry Pearman were all involved in helping disabled driver Graham Taylor after he broke down on the slip road onto the eastbound M55 from the A6 on May 25.
Taylor and his partner Pat Kelsall were travelling home to Oldham after a trip to Fleetwood when his car broke down during the busy Friday afternoon lunch hour.
With no hard shoulder on the slip road and being unable to walk and get out of the car quickly, Taylor called his recovery service for help when the Highways Agency Traffic Officers – based at the outstation at Junction 31 of the M6 at Samlesbury – arrived at the scene after discovering the breakdown on a routine patrol.
Two crews then took charge of the situation with one ensuring that drivers coming from the roundabout with the A6 were diverted into lane two of the slip road to prevent them colliding with Taylor’s car. The other crew then towed Taylor’s car to the nearest hard shoulder and waited with the couple while a recovery truck arrived.
He said, “I am disabled and unable to walk due to multiple sclerosis. I had managed to call the recovery service when the Highways Agency Traffic Officers arrived.
“They took control of the situation straight away and really put myself and my partner at ease in what was quite a perilous situation. All four of them deserve praise for their professionalism and courtesy because they went way above the call of duty.”
John McTaggart (pictured), head of on road operations for the Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service in the North of England, said that while Traffic Officers did not provide a rescue service they always made an assessment of conditions surrounding a breakdown or accident especially ones involving vulnerable customers.
He said, ”Mr Taylor and his partner were clearly in a very vulnerable situation unable to easily get out of the vehicle and stranded in a live lane on the slip road with the very real risk of being struck by vehicles attempting to join the motorway.
“It is always rewarding to get such praise from customers for our Traffic Officers but I am sure that they would all say they were just doing their jobs.”