Safety proposal is long overdue

WHEN I'm driving and I have to pull over for whatever reason, it scares me more than ever these days.

Like many things, it's worse now I'm a mum. My son consistently manages to wiggle his way out of his shoulder restraint, so I'm pulling over more often on the side of the road.

And it commonly tends to happen when I'm on a road or motorway where traffic is doing more than 80 kilometres an hour.

While I do my best to ensure I pull over safely, and a good distance from passing cars, sometimes there are restrictions on the space provided.

And even though the distance might be a metre away from the lane markings, it still scares me to open my door until it's clear and walk around to the back seat.

Thoughts of accidents always flash through my mind.

My brother-in-law works at Westmead Hospital and one of his patients a few years ago was a man who pulled over on the M4 to help a woman whose car had broken down.

His car was parked behind hers and he was helping get the spare tyre out of her boot when a car crashed into his car, crushing him. He is now confined to a wheelchair.

And another Good Samaritan was Geoffrey Clark, who pulled over on the Hume Highway to help Sarah Frazer, 23, whose car could only fit part-way onto the shoulder. Both were killed when a truck hit them.

Cars break down. We can't help where and when, but we need safe conditions in which to move to the side of the road and stop.

It's hard enough these days to find people who will pull over to help; the lack of safety just adds to that dilemma. This is especially the case on on motorways where speed is excessive and people don't feel it's safe to stop.

Sarah's father has created The Sarah Group, which is calling for a minimum breakdown lane clearance of 2.5 metres and for drivers to slow down when they see a car with the hazard lights on.

It's a great idea. Unfortunately, it takes something tragic for us all to change our driving habits.

It still bewilders me when people speed through 40km/h zones during school hours.

What will it take?

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