3 killed on M25 - volvoman
Couldn't help thinking about the breakdown on the M25 thread when I read about the 3 women who were killed on the M25 yesterday. Apparently their car stopped in the middle lane (broke down ??) and 3 of the 4 female occupants got out only to be hit by a van and killed. The one remaining in the car survived apparently. Our claim on life is tenuous isn't it ?
3 killed on M25 - Obsolete
That is indeed an awful story and yes it does make me stop and think there but for the grace of god go I.

I've often wondered what would happen if I was forced to stop in lanes 2 or 3. From this awful incident the answer must be stay in the car and hope a porta-plod gets there pronto.
3 killed on M25 - Gen
Keep your seat belt on, only put handbrake on very lightly...if you get hit you will be moved in your car...a writeoff maybe but you'll walk away hopefully. At least that's what I'd do.
3 killed on M25 - DavidHM
This actually has happened to me, when I was 17. The driver was 18. We were driving along on a rainy day in the middle lane when the car aquaplaned, spun 540 degrees and came to rest with both left hand wings against the outside crash barrier, the suspension wrecked and the car facing the traffic.

We switched on the flashers, left the headlights on, exited on the barrier side (me through the window, he through the sunroof) and walked to about 50-100m behind the car, between the crash barriers on both carriageways. That way, if the car was hit, we would hopefully be out of range of the debris and would have some reaction time, plus a little protection from the barriers if ever it came to that.

Plod (this was late 95, before most people had mobile phones but some did) took about 10-15 minutes to arrive. When they arrived they were more concerned with why the sunroof was open in torrential rain than anything else.
3 killed on M25 - DavidHM
Yes, V, it is. However, without wanting to sound callous, I can't help thinking that they probably panicked. If it broke down for whatever reason, they could probably have coasted to the hard shoulder and moved themselves to safety. I'm sure my sister would have no idea what to do if she was driving alone and the car broke down.

I remember seeing a car overheat in a traffic jam, slightly dowhill. The two female occupants jumped out of the car upon seeing the steam and letting it roll away. Thankfully, a passer by leaped into the car and parked it with the engine off.

Maybe it was a similar lack of experience that caused this tragedy.

Full details here: news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/story.jsp?stor...5
3 killed on M25 - John.Davies
What possible breakdown, apart from a crash like David's (and you must have been going just a little too fast, eh, David?), will leave you immobile in the outside lane? Even then the starter could get you to the hard shoulder.

No, this was not an accident. It was a tragedy, an inevitable incident when so many drivers are incompetent.
3 killed on M25 - smokie
Shame we can't all be perfect eh JohnR?

I can think of a number of incidents that might leave you like this. Especially if you are travelling on a busy motorway and as per usual no-one will let you in front of them. It's hard to indicate that you have an emergency in progress.

I've stood beside (but well back from) a motorway once or twice, and they are frightening. People may not necessarily speeding past, but the sound and draught from cars, and more so lorries, would be enough to raise panic in many people.

I also had the experience while overtaking a lorry of a car being pushed around the front of the lorry from it's nearside into my lane facing in my direction. Scary for us both, I can assure you.

I wouldn't entirely disgree with your views on incompetence in some drivers, but without the facts here that is a harsh judgement.
3 killed on M25 - volvoman
I tend to agree Smokie and think that most people just don't know how dangerous motorways are with many vehicles travelling at 70mph and well over. Cocooned as we are in our nice smooth, warm, quiet cars, listening to music, I just don't think people sense the danger they are in and standing by the side of such a road for even a few seconds sure as hell brings that home.

Having said that there are many drivers using such roads who are totally unprepared for such an eventuality and haven't got a clue what to do. However, the selfish 'get to my destination as quickly as possible and at any cost' attitude of some drivers also contributes to the danger and although I have driven for over 20 years, I really wouldn't fancy having a breakdown on a motorway, let alone in the middle or outside lanes!

Some years ago we had a 2 speed Toyota Corolla auto. It was the first time I had driven the car to my parents' house and on the way I found myself in the outside lane of the A2 just the other side of the Medway Bridge heading south. The road at this point forms a long steep incline and try as I might, the car just wouldn't accelerate to over 40 because it kept changing up and down and didn't have enough pull in 2nd. Despite indicating and trying to get in the left hand lane, nobody would let me do so - preferring to undertake ! So I was trapped in the outside lane with cars tailgating and queuing up behind and others flying past on the left! A truly frightening experience !
3 killed on M25 - volvoman
BTW, I also think that the element of drivers who believe they are perfect is a very big problem and a major contibuting factor.

These are the people who are more important than anyone else; know they're always right; never make mistakes; can read the minds of other drivers; can drive as fast as they like and never have accidents - only other people have those don't they !

These are the sad inadequates who practice being F1 drivers on our public roads because it makes them feel big. The lunatics who act out their fantasies every day of the week and think nothing of putting other peoples lives at risk!
3 killed on M25 - Dynamic Dave
Even then the starter could get you to the hard shoulder.

Care to explain how to do this with auto gearbox?
3 killed on M25 - Obsolete
Preumably a front wheel blowout on a front wheel drive car would mean loss of steering control?
3 killed on M25 - THe Growler
3 killed on M25 - THe Growler Mon 19 May 03 07:20

Having just spent much of the last week myself on the M25 in similar conditions, I defy anyone, including me, to maintain the icy calm presence of mind in such a circumstance to do what has been suggested and manage to avoid a collision in the process. Particularly because the lowered attention levels and sensitivities that tedious m-way driving tends to generate I wouldn't have thought many drivers would have the razor sharp reactions and instant access to stored mental action alternatives to deal with an event like that successfully. I've often wondered what I would do if that happened to me and never come up with a good answer.

Monday morning quarter-backing isn't any help.

Education might be, if these kinds of simulations were set up as part of training pre-granting of license, like with pilot training.

I'm just thankful I'm not that van driver.

3 killed on M25 - superannuated rocker
I once had my engine 'die' on me when in the fast lane travelling at some 80mph, This was in the early hours of a winters morning on the M42 and there was a 'wall' of lorries all doing 65-70 in the middle lane. Fortunately, I managed by using LH turn indicator and Hazard lights alternatively, to indicate to the lorry drivers I had a problem and one of them let me pull in and head for the hard shoulder. The very thought of using my starter motor to winch myself at say 5 mph across traffic travelling at 60plus is something I do not wish to contemplate.
3 killed on M25 - eMBe {P}
The apparent circumstances leading to this tragedy are in today's (19May) Timesonline at
where the AA's director of Safety is quoted as follows:

<< " To stay or to go

The AA?s director of road safety, Andrew Howard, said that in a situation where a car was in the outside lane and unable to move, and the central reservation offered no protection, people should stay in the car and turn on the hazard warning lights

The AA?s general advice is that motorists should try to leave their car if they have broken down and are stuck on the motorway. However, they make it clear that such action should be taken ?only if it is safe to do so?

If the car could still move, the driver should attempt to take it to a hard shoulder or somewhere safe to stop in order to get out, Mr Howard said. It was an ?absolutely horrible situation? to be in. ">>
3 killed on M25 - Altea Ego
I have been driving for a considerable number of years, and like Most of you have seen all sorts of situations. Those experience's or common sense have always given me an indication of the best or safest thing to do and have tucked them away in organic storage. This however has usually been thought through without pressure after the situation. ie the ability to be able to sit down and think thro any actions you need to take given a scenario.

I have however never considered the possibility that I could be stranded in a car on the fast lane, with my family on board, unable to get the car to the hard shoulder. Hence I have never had to think about "stay or go"
In very bad weather, in an emergency (possibly panic) situation, with no previous plan thought about, what would I have done? what would you have done?

Obviously with hindsight, stay in the car. It provides some form of protection, and is more easily visable. Move when its safe. This is now in storage to be recalled when required. I only hope I would have been calm enough to think that through given the pressure of an emergency life threatening situation. I hope I would.
3 killed on M25 - James_Jameson
It's a worrying thought that motorway driving is not included in the driving test.

I believe that motorway driving techniques (including moving to the left hand lane when clear) and what to do in the event of a breakdown should be included in the test. (If they are now, I see little evidence of it.)
3 killed on M25 - Another John H
I have been driving for many years too.. and about 25 years ago I had a complete power failure in a Austin 1100 in the righthand lane of the M5. (Self fit capacitor discharge "electronic ignition" ceased to function - it's probably still at the edge of a field somewhere in Worcestershire.).
It was one of the most unpleasant few seconds driving I can remember, and it's very difficult to barge your way across the bows of someone you've just overtaken, while slowing down.

With the volume of traffic on the roads, and the "attitude" out there you'd have to be rather determined to do it now: any hesitation while the bit of momentum you've got is being lost and you'd be stuck.
3 killed on M25 - Anata
You'd have to be quick thinking and assertive to the point of agression to get to the hard shoulder.

It may be sesn as a tad sexist but I havn't met many women in their early and mid 20s who would have the mind set to react like you'd need to in that scenario...

.....hazzards on, horn on and just barge in
3 killed on M25 - Rojer
I'm no expert but I'd have thought that putting on your handbrake 'lightly' would be the wrong thing to do.

If you are sat in a car in the 3rd lane, surely you should have your handbrake on full (as motor cyclists do when in standing traffic) so that:

a) You aren't given whiplash by a car hitting you (bad news for them of course)


b) YOU don't get shoved out into flowing traffic after the hit.

.. and if you end up facing the traffic, I would have thought it better to get into the back seats with seatbelts on. Unless you have airbags in which case I couldn't guess which seat would be better.

Any comments?

3 killed on M25 - Wally Zebon
A similar tragedy to this happened just north of Lockerbie on the M74 just a few months ago. 4 people were returning from a wedding rehearsal when their car spun in torrential rain and ended up facing the wrong way in lane 3. The occupants bailed out and headed for the hard shoulder in a group, only to be mowed down by a car. All four people died.

Its very easy to decide what you should do when you're sitting in a warm office typing in front of your computer, but when you've just crunched your car into the central reservation and want to get out, it can be very confusing as to which way is best.

3 killed on M25 - Morris Ox
Well said, Wally.

When you read the chain of events which led to this awful tragedy, you soon realise how difficult it must have been to have the presence of mind not to do what those poor girls did.

Perhaps inexperience did play a part in it, but I'd challenge anyone not to make a mistake in those circumstances. That the price of their mistake was so high is grotesque.

Worth mentioning the practice of most emergency and breakdown people when they have to pull up on the hard shoulder: always angle the front of your vehicle to the nearside so that if it is struck it is more likely to suffer a glancing blow by spinning away off the carriageway to the left.
3 killed on M25 - Martin Devon
Replying to all comments really.

I repeat what I said several months ago. I used to travel from j27 M5 to Bucks (M4). Flat out fast lane. Escort diesel van. Got there stressed to hell. After several of these trips I took to 'doing it' in the inside lane with the big boys. Literally made 20 mins difference to the journey,(honestly). Little or no stress and the fuel saved paid for a beer or three!


3 killed on M25 - Obsolete
Relaxed mind, beer in the hand, sounds compelling to me.

One reason I tend not cruise at 90 mph in lane 3 is the thought of what would happen given an engine seizure or a blow-out. I know of one well known drummer whose last words on his mobile were something like "oh golly" when he had a blow out at 100 mph in lane 3.
3 killed on M25 - Blue {P}
But Rojer, if you are hit at say 50 mph from behind, with the best will in the world your car (what's left of it) will be sent flying along the road, handbrake or not, but if you don't have the handbrake on, then it will decelerate less rapidly giving the momentum more time to dissipate safely. Of course the initial shock of been accelerated from 0 - 45 mph so violently would no doubt be lethal or seriously life threatening, unfortunately this will happen whether the brake is on or not, I bet it makes very little difference....

I'd still rather be in the car, sat up against the head restraints when it is hit, rather than risking it on the road...

3 killed on M25 - Rojer
But Rojer, if you are hit at say 50 mph from
behind, with the best will in the world your car (what's
left of it) will be sent flying along the road, handbrake
or not, but if you don't have the handbrake on, then
it will decelerate less rapidly giving the momentum more time to
dissipate safely. Of course the initial shock of been accelerated from
0 - 45 mph so violently would no doubt be lethal
or seriously life threatening, unfortunately this will happen whether the brake
is on or not, I bet it makes very little difference....


In short, you're wrong.

Ask an advanced driver, a member of the Emergency Services or a motorcyclist.


You'll accelerate off more slowly and you'll not be thrown as far forwards into other traffic, trees, stationary cars, oncoming traffic etc.

Anyone out there want to help me?
3 killed on M25 - joe
Do motorcycles really have handbrakes now?
3 killed on M25 - Wooster
Do motorcycles really have handbrakes now?

Yes, they do. It\'s on the right handlebar. And you use your right hand to operate it. But... when standing still in traffic, motorcyclists are supposed to use their footbrake. Puts the brake light on, and allows for smooth transition when the right hand opens the throttle. Just thought you might want to know!
3 killed on M25 - volvoman
Not casting any blame here because none of us know the facts yet but in very bad/wet weather conditions, the outside lane on the motorway is the last place I'd be driving.
3 killed on M25 - eMBe {P}
Precisely. I understand that the Peugeot ended up in the outside lane AFTER the driver lost control.
3 killed on M25 - eMBe {P}
I am led to believe that many people are jumping to conclusions about this incident without full facts being known.

The most detailed account that I heard on the radio indicates that:

1. The 4 women were in a Peugeot driving through heavy rain in poor visibility, which lane they were in is not clear at the moment.

2. Car (car1) in front lost control, causing Peugeot (car2) drivier to take avoiding action, resulting in loss of control and hitting central reservation. It is not clear whether the MG parked up on the hard-shoulder was car1 or say car3. The woman driver of the MG is alleged to have stopped there because she felt unsafe driving in the terrible conditions.

3. Driver of Peugeot was slightly injured as a result of crash in to central-barrier.

4. Passengers tried to make their way or were already on the hard shoulder. Van driver hit all 3 passengers (not clear yet where they were at the time except for the fact that they had left the Peugeot). Van went on to hit the MG on the hard-shoulder. Peugeot was not hit by any other car.

Questions being asked about the incident are:
1. How fast were car1, car2, and Van travelling?
2. How far apart were they?
3. Which lanes were they in?
4. How is it that no vehicle hit the Peugeot (car2)?
5. Was car1 the MG?
6. What caused car1 to lose control? Driver error or car defect?
7. What caused car2 to lose control? Driver error or car defect?
8. Were loss of control in 6 & 7 preventable?
3 killed on M25 - volvoman
You're right of course MB and my point really wasn't intended as any criticism in this case for all the reasons you've just cited.

My point was really an observation as to the mindset of drivers who insist on speeding in the outside lane when it's either icy, foggy and/or pouring with rain.

Some years ago I was driving home from Broadstairs on a stretch of dual carriageway and was caught in a freak thunderstorm. It was raining telegraph poles !
My windscreen wipers could not clear the deluge and visibility was just a few yards. It was truly scary to be doing more than 20mph so I pulled off the road into the first layby we came across and stayed put until it cleared. What worried me, however, was that everyone else carried on regardless with many displaying their usual suicidal tendencies by speeding along in the outside lane seemingly oblivious of the danger to themselves and everyone else !

Ever since then, if it starts raining heavily I make sure I'm in the inside lane and as close to relative safety as possible.
3 killed on M25 - volvoman
BTW - as regards the advice to stay put in such circumstances, I really don't know if I would do that. It's an awful situation but when faced with being stuck in my car in the outside lane of a motorway I think I might choose the central reservation and get away from the scene as far and as quickly as possible.
3 killed on M25 - LHM
Re: to get out or not - as has been already pointed out, it's easy to decide on what to do in the comfort of your home (or office!), but quite a different matter when it's for real!

I think much would depend on the exact circumstances, but I'd make a decent effort to get into the most left-hand lane lane I could (momentum and other traffic allowing). If that meant coming to a halt on the carriageway proper, I'd stay put in the vehicle and wait until traffic had ground to a halt in all lanes (which on most M-ways wouldn't take long!) for several minutes. Only then might I be tempted to get out of the vehicle.

Having stood on the hard shoulder a couple of times, the carriageway is absolutely no place for a stroll. The inconvenience of causing a complete roadblock pales into insignificance compared with the inconvenience of being dead......
3 killed on M25 - Orson {P}
The Telegraph reported that the Peugeot had lost control after taking avoiding action. The resulting collision with the central reservation ripped the drivers side front wheel off.

Try getting it to the hard shoulder on the starter motor like that...

3 killed on M25 - eMBe {P}
I have just seen on another web-site that there may have been a more sinister reason for the deaths of the passengers - the alleged reason is of a similar kind to one which failed in the courts a couple of years ago. I do not believe in such conspiracy theories and so will not repeat it here. Sorry, but if you are really interested, you will have to try and search it out yourself.
3 killed on M25 - BobbyG
Come on MB, you can't leave it there? Give us a clue to the thread?
3 killed on M25 - sombrueil
Yes it is terrible, i am sorry to say if it happened to my children i dont think life would be worth carry on, oh i do feel for the families, and how life will be for the other girl left in the car and the driver of the van. My deepest sympathy to them all.

Value my car