Those who put their lives at risk by providing roadside assistance have called on drivers to slow down.
Tow truck driver Pat McEveney — who has been assisting motorists for 25 years — is backing a road safety campaign and said that the risks significantly increase when a vehicle breaks down.
The 51-year-old had a lucky escape recently when he was called out to recover a vehicle which had gone off the road.
“I was hit recently and I’ve had a few other close calls as well,” he said.
“We are left to save ourselves and the people in these positions and we feel alone and vulnerable out there.”
Pat said more supports for tow truck drivers must be implemented in the future.
“When people are going passed you at a fast speed and they’re only two feet away it’s quite dangerous,” he said.
“Although we employ emergency lights and safety vests, it’s not always enough to slow people down.
“We need some sort of electronic warning device like a flashing sign that we could put 100 metres up the road to warn traffic that a tow truck is in operation close by.”
The campaign is appealing to motorists to move over and slow down when they come face-to-face with a vehicle rendering roadside assistance.
It also calls for mandatory measures such as the turning on of emergency hazards, pulling into an approach road if possible, popping the hood of the vehicle, and only using flashing beacons when necessary.
Road safety officer in Mayo Noel Gibbons also warned motorists to slow down.
“If you see any vehicle that has a flashing light on it please slow down regardless of the colour of the light; be it an amber flashing light, a red flashing light, a blue flashing light or a combination thereof — for emergency vehicles, ambulance, fire trucks and tow trucks,” he said.
As winter approaches, Mr Gibbons also asked motorists to drive to the conditions of the road and weather and to make sure they can stop safely in a short distance.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved