RAA has today launched a road safety campaign aimed at protecting its members and patrols at the roadside, as new data reveals several patrol vans have been hit when at breakdowns in recent years.
Data from RAA Road Service shows there were 17 reportable safety incidents caused by cars driving past breakdowns without due care between 2019-2022. These incidents included three where patrol vans had their driver’s side mirror knocked off, two where vans were hit by a car or motorcycle, and five where traffic cones were hit or dragged down the road.
RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the Slow Down for Yellow campaign urges drivers to take care and slow down if they see the yellow flashing lights of an RAA Patrol van attending to a member’s vehicle.
“Almost every South Australian motorist would have a story about when they were rescued at the roadside by an RAA patrol,” Mr Mountain said.
“In recent years there have been several near-misses due to cars flying past these breakdown scenes without due care, where the consequences could have potentially been catastrophic.
“We think it’s timely to remind motorists to check their surroundings and take care when passing a roadside assistance vehicle with yellow flashing lights.
“Where possible, move into an adjacent lane to provide some extra space as well.
“This is not just about keeping our patrols safe, but also our members who are often vulnerable road users, such as the elderly or families with young children.”
Mr Mountain said the campaign also came in response to an increase in callouts to high-speed roads, where RAA members and patrols can be particularly vulnerable.
“With high-speed roads such as the Northern Connector and Southern Expressway now part of many South Aussies regular commute, RAA’s Road Service data shows there has been a 33 per cent increase in callouts to these key arterials since 2019.
“It can be stressful enough for our members and patrols when they are working to get the car back on the road, let alone with vehicles driving past at 100km/hr or more.
“One near miss where an RAA member or patrol is nearly injured – or worse – is one too many.
“We’re asking drivers to slow down for yellow too – whenever they see our flashing lights and RAA patrol attending to a members car.”
The Slow Down for Yellow campaign is being launched today via RAA’s digital channels with a campaign video, as well as a billboard on South Australia’s busiest road at RAA’s Mile End headquarters.
It comes after the road rule requiring drivers to slow down when passing emergency service vehicles was recently extended to include roadside assistance workers in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.