Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Too Many Drivers Running Out of Fuel on East Midland's Motorways, says Highways Agency

The Highways Agency is calling on drivers in the East Midlands to check their fuel levels before setting off on journeys after more than 920 drivers broke down on our motorways over a 12-month period after running out of fuel.

Agency figures show that on the motorways in England as a whole 15,788 drivers ran out of fuel between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009 – an average of 43 every day. The largest number of fuel breakdowns were recorded on the M1 - a total of 1,975.

Breaking down on the motorway causes disruption to journeys and road users can put themselves and other drivers at risk. To reduce the inconvenience and also the hazards involved, the Agency, supported by the Driving Standards Agency, is calling on drivers to check their fuel levels before setting off on journeys.

The Highways Agency’s Director of Network Operations, Derek Turner, said:

“The number of people breaking down simply because they have run out of fuel is alarming. It’s not only hazardous to the driver and passengers, but to other road users as well, especially if the vehicle has to stop in a live lane.”

“We want drivers to be aware of the risks and also to encourage them to check their fuel level before they set off. It’s important that if you are travelling over long distances, that you continually monitor your fuel level.”

The Driving Standards Agency’s Director for Safer Driving, Trevor Wedge, said:

“Running out of fuel on a motorway can be a risky business. Stopping on the hard shoulder will place you and your passengers in a vulnerable situation that could be avoided.

“Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your journey before driving on to a motorway and don't let the fuel in your tank run too low. Fill up well before the gauge reaches empty and before the warning light comes on.

“Remember that driving at higher speeds, especially when overtaking, will use more fuel and there can sometimes be quite some distance between service stations. Don't be tempted to try to complete your journey on a low tank.”

The Agency’s traffic officers, who patrol the motorways, are also surprised at the number of road users who run out of fuel.

Northamptonshire traffic officer Mike Madeley, based at Watford Gap outstation said:

"Some drivers don't think about the inconvenience and the hazards they can cause. My colleague and I came across a tanker recently parked on the hard shoulder of the M1 between junction 16 and 17. It was carrying 33,500 litres of diesel, but when we asked the driver what the problem was, it turned out he had ran out of fuel himself."

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire traffic officer Paul Williams, who patrols from Felley outstation, added:

"People are usually very embarrassed when they have broken down due to running out of fuel. The top excuses we hear are "the car display told me I had a few miles left", "my partner usually fills up the tank" and "someone else drove the car last night and did not replace the petrol they used."

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