Monday 22nd July 2013 – 7.20pm – Murray MacGregor.
Drivers are being warned of the dangers when caught up in traffic jams on the motorway after a series of incidents on the M5 in Worcestershire on Monday afternoon.
The three crashes involving four cars, a caravan and two vans resulted in one woman being taken to hospital and another seven people being treated by ambulance staff.
What was more worrying were the actions of some drivers caught up in the resultant traffic jams.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We would urge drivers to keep their levels of concentration up even though it can be extremely boring being sat in traffic for long periods of time, especially in these temperatures.
“Due to the heat a number of cars had broken down. The drivers had moved onto the hard shoulder but left their vehicles in the middle of the lane. This resulted in the ambulance staff having real difficulties getting to the scene of the incidents. If you break down, please move as far to the left of the hard shoulder as possible so that emergency vehicles can still get by. If possible, you should then get out of the vehicle and move away from it so that you are safe in case it gets hit by another vehicle.
“In recent days we have also seen cases where drivers get out of their cars when stuck in jams on motorways even though the other carriageway is still flowing. This is incredibly dangerous. We have all seen stones getting thrown up by cars, hitting windscreen and cracking them.
“Imagine what would happen if that stone were to hit you on the head as you stood on the carriageway. If you are stuck in traffic, please make sure you remain in your vehicle for safety and also in case the emergency services need you to move.”
The initial incident happened at just after 2.30pm on the southbound carriageway at junction 4A where the slip road to the M42 leaves the carriageway. A caravan overturned after it jack knifed. Thankfully the car towing it remained upright but the caravan was badly damaged with wreckage over lanes one and two.
A rapid response vehicle was dispatched as the driver was complaining of a medical condition after the incident. After monitoring he was discharged at scene.
Due to crash, considerable queues built up in both directions. At just before 3.20pm, a second call to the same location was received, this time to a three car crash. An ambulance, a rapid response vehicle and a paramedic officer were sent to the scene.
A woman in her 30s in the front car was complaining of neck pain. She was immobilised and taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital for further assessment.
The man in the middle car was shaken but unhurt while a woman in her 30s along with a young child in the rear car were uninjured.
The third accident happened at 3.45pm on the northbound carriageway, 400 yards before junction 6 when two vans collided in the congestion.
It resulted in the small van in front leaving the carriageway, narrowly missing a large sign and ending up wedged in a thicket of young trees. An ambulance and the same paramedic officer went to the scene. Fortunately neither of the drivers was hurt.