This year Highways England supported Road Safety Week by raising awareness of the Speed Down Save Lives message. Here, traffic officer Gary Reece shares his advice for drivers using the motorway network this winter.
We all lead busy lives and always have to be somewhere but at what cost?
I am a traffic officer based in the North West region of England. My 'office' is the motorway network including the M6, M62, M57, M58, M60 and the M602.
I have worked for Highways England for ten years.
In my current role, I am also Highways England road safety lead for the Merseyside area. I use my experience to help road users understand more about road safety and keeping safe.
The groups I speak to are very varied, just like our road users, and my audiences have included St John Ambulance, The High Sheriffs, International Transport Delegation and Road Safety partnerships in the area, the fire service and recently local RAF Air Training Cadets.
Out on the roads, although no two days are the same, there is a constant theme that runs through many of the incidents that we attend - distraction!
Daily we attend and assist motorists who have ended up involved in an incident on the motorway and for many it can be a daunting and frightening situation they have found themselves in.
So what happens when it goes wrong? You find yourself in a potentially dangerous location on the hard shoulder and all of a sudden you realise how fast and close the traffic is passing you, your day plan is now out the window and you just want to get away from this situation.
As well as your safety there is now the added risk to those responding and coming to your assistance which could be the emergency services, Highways England traffic officers or the recovery services.
They have to work on the hard shoulder which carries risk: every year too many people are killed and seriously injured while on the hard shoulder.
How often we hear the phrase “If only I had….”.
So here are some tips to reduce the chance of being in this position:
- Check your vehicle before you set off, tyres, oil, enough fuel for your journey.
- Give yourself time - allow yourself a few minutes spare so you are not rushing to your destination.
- SLOW DOWN - give more space in case something suddenly happens in front of you.
- RED X means lane CLOSED - there could be a broken down vehicle, debris, workers on the road or emergency services attending a collision up ahead.
- Rename the glovebox is the phone box – put it in there and don’t be distracted by it!
Just a few very simple things that could save your day, your wallet and YOUR LIFE.
Drive safe and stay safe – and remember to Speed Down Save Lives for Road Safety Week.