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Shocking Crash Picture Shows Danger of Sitting in Broken Down Car

By Stephen Turvil | February 22, 2019


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Police warning as harrowing picture shows broken down car crushed by lorry - plus how to stay safe if you break down

Shocking Crash Picture Shows Danger of Sitting in Broken Down Car

Lorry slices through broken down car

Police have released a shocking picture that proves it is not necessarily safe to wait in your broken down car for a recovery truck. It might be safer instead to wait a distance away. Why? Because the car in the picture – a blue hatchback – developed a fault, pulled to the side of the road then got crushed by a lorry.

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit added that the hatchback broke down on the A421 (dual carriageway) in February 2019. The picture implies its driver therefore stopped on a grass verge so there was space for the traffic to pass unhindered. Unfortunately, the driver of a lorry approaching from the rear ‘didn’t see’ the car so ploughed into it.

Shocking Crash Picture Shows Danger of Sitting in Broken Down Car Image 0

Image: BCH Road Policing

Mercifully, the car driver was standing close to the car rather than sitting in it. This ensured there were no major injuries. The car itself was not so lucky, though. The damage included a: crumpled roof, twisted tailgate and wrecked quarter panel. Furthermore, the right rear door was virtually torn off its hinges.

Police safety message

The Police suggested on social media that the crash demonstrates ‘the importance of getting out of your vehicle’ if it breaks down in a dangerous spot. Furthermore, the lorry driver might now be charged with, for instance, driving without due care and attention.

What to do if your car breaks down

The Highway Code reveals what to do if your car breaks down. The first consideration is other motorists. Get off the road if possible, then. If, in contrast, you cannot avoid causing an obstruction switch on your hazard lights. Furthermore, put a warning triangle 45 metres behind the car on your side of the road if it's safe to do so, (not on a motorway).

Also consider personal safety. Florescent clothes make you easier to see, for example. Furthermore, never stand between your vehicle and oncoming traffic in case there is a collision. There are further and contrasting points if your car is problematic on the motorway. Leave at the next exit if possible, for instance. If not:

  • Stop on the hard shoulder as far left as possible 
  • Turn your wheels to the left 
  • Switch on your hazard warning lights 
  • Exit the vehicle via a door on the left 
  • Get any passengers out via the left doors 
  • Leave pets in the vehicle if practical 

Now consider the safest place to stand. It is probably the other side of the crash barrier some distance behind your car. Why behind? Because it is likely to bounce forward if hit. In addition:

  • Do not try to fix your vehicle 
  • Never set up a warning triangle
  • If you don't have a mobile phone - look for arrows that point you towards an emergency phone 
  • Walk to the nearest phone (it is no more than half a mile) 

Highways England or the Police answer your call. Simply say your car broke down and explain any further difficulties. Perhaps, for example, you are travelling with a disabled person. Face the traffic throughout the call so you can react to any hazards. After the call, go back to your car and wait for help in the safest spot.

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