Multiple near misses on M5 as drivers ignore signs

Accident scene ‘invisible’ to speeding motorists who put other people’s lives at risk.

Drivers ignored warning signs on the M5 in East Devon and carried on travelling at speed - even though emergency services were trying to deal with a crash.

A long-serving fire officer, who was at the scene, says the drivers put other people’s lives at risk.

Now Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is warning motorists to take heed of warning signs.

The fire service’s group manager, Andy Newland, was travelling northbound on the M5, between junctions 28 and 29, at around 5.30pm on Tuesday (January 3) when he noticed a single vehicle had crashed into the central reservation on the opposite carriageway.


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Two people were still in the car. They were not injured, but were unable to safely exit their car, which was damaged and facing the wrong direction with its headlights and hazard warning lights operating.

Andy turned around at the next junction and positioned his vehicle with his rear red lights and blue lights flashing.

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Meanwhile, the Highways Agency had activated its matrix warning signs - indicating a problem and a lane three closure.

“Traffic was continuing to bear down on the scene at speeds around 70mph and more, despite all the warnings already in place,” said Andy.

“I witnessed multiple near misses as on-coming and still speeding motorists took evasive action to leave lane three, causing them to move sharply into lanes two and one.”

Several motorists were seen driving too fast, despite Andy wearing high visibility clothing and waving a floodlight torch to warn on-coming traffic.

Andy, who has 26 years experience with the fire service, described the experience as “terrifying.”

“It was as if the scene was invisible to dozens of motorists,” he said. “Fortunately, no one was injured and no other vehicles became involved but it was a miracle that no one was killed or injured.”

The emergency services arrived quickly afterwards to slow down on-coming traffic and allow the driver and his young passenger to leave the area safely.

Drivers are reminded to:

� observe road conditions and warning signs

� exercise caution when seeing warning signs operating

� reduce their speeds immediately without causing difficulties to vehicles behind them.

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