Would You Know How to Stay Safe After a Car-Crash in a Road Tunnel?

Would you know what to do if you were involved in a car crash driving through a road tunnel?

This morning, that’s exactly what had happened to an unfortunate driver on his way to work. With a smashed bonnet and with no way for others to help him safely, it made me think, do all road-users know how to stay safe in that situation?

We all read about the tragic story of the 21-year-old man who died after being struck by a car while changing a tyre on the busy Mitchell Freeway. He was a passenger in a ride-share, but the kind-hearted young man’s instinct was to get out of the car and help his Ola driver. He was rushed with critical injuries to Royal Perth Hospital but tragically died the same day.

If something goes wrong with your car, it is perhaps a natural reaction to get out and try to fix the problem yourself, or if you are in a crash, there would be a strong urge to get out of the vehicle.

However, this is not the recommendation of Main Roads.

If you are involved in a crash or break-down on a freeway or metropolitan major road, Luke Van Den Hoek from Main Roads recommends to: 

  1. Make every effort to drive your vehicle to a safe location nearby, if possible.
  2. Remain in your vehicle, if safe to do so, with a seat belt and hazard lights on.
  3. If you must exit your vehicle, stand clear of traffic, ideally behind a barrier – never try to cross the road or stand between vehicles to exchange driver information.
  4. Call emergency services on 000, or your roadside assistance provider, if required.
  5. Call Main Roads on 138 138 for further advice.

Fortunately, many roads in WA have monitored CCTV, so the chances are that if you are in an incident, your car will be seen and reported to the emergency services.

What should I do if I break down in the Northbridge Tunnel?

There are no emergency lanes inside the Northbridge Tunnel. If you break down, stay inside your vehicle and wait for instructions via your radio, the PA, or Variable Messaging System in the tunnel. 

Tunnel operators monitor the tunnel 24 hours a day and will call for emergency services if required. They will also send for the Incident Response Service to move your vehicle to a safe location. 

Who will tow my vehicle?

Towing assistance applies to broken-down vehicles including accident-damaged vehicles on freeways and major metropolitan roads if determined necessary.

Main Roads assesses each incident on a case-by-case basis. In the event, Main Roads Control Room Operators, who monitor the Main Roads network 24/7, determine a broken-down vehicle is obstructing traffic or in a hazardous location, Main Roads may deploy a tow truck or an Incident Response Service vehicle to assist and relocate the vehicle to the closest safe location to ensure safety for all road users. 

Main Roads recommends private roadside assistance providers such as RAC or tow truck services be contacted if possible, as the Agency may not be able to arrange attendance at every incident.

KEE Group works alongside Main Roads to keep our community safe. Remember to be kind to other road-users, drive safely, never drink and drive and always stay within the speed limits. We want everyone to get home to their families safely every day.

IMAGE © Katharyn Quinn 2021

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