Devon driver's road warning after finding wreck

A driver has urged fellow motorists to treat the roads with respect after discovering a car that had rolled onto its roof in an early-morning crash. Christopher James came across the red Toyota on the A3079 near Halwill Junction at around 7am. Having driven past the same spot minutes earlier, he knew the crash had only just happened.

He, along with several other motorists, stopped to search for the driver, who received medical treatment from the ambulance service. Christopher said there had been a recent hail storm, which he felt had likely contributed to the crash.

The upturned Toyota on the A3079 near Halwill Junction

“We spotted the truck which had not been there long, as we had been past a short while before. We have noticed that the police usually wrap their blue and white tape round abandoned or accident vehicles to show that they have been noticed, so we stopped to check, not to be nosey,” he explained.

“We turned round just in case, and other cars and a van also stopped. We checked the cab and around the shrub for any occupants.
It was very reassuring to see people’s concern, they thought it could have been us. “We were not sure how the driver was as the airbags hadn’t gone off.

We called the police to check, the ambulance service was aware and had arrived and was attending to the injured driver in the farmyard a few metres on. “The accident happened near the River Carey on a bend in the road at the bottom of a long straight stretch going downhill slightly. It looked like they lost control on a slippery patch of ice or hail as there were patches of ice on the verges and it had recently pelted hail.”

“People need to beware seasonal surprise, icy conditions. These fast country roads with puddles and pot holes can be unpredictable – we often see tyre tracks leading off into a hedge where someone has come to grief,” he continued. “It’s always worth checking, not assuming it’s been dealt with.”

Speaking on the RAC website, Rebecca Ashton from the Institute of Advanced Motorists says a high gear while driving in wintry conditions is essential. This will keep your revs low, reducing the risk of your wheels spinning.

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She also said: “When you’re on the move, it’s important to get your speed right, and to maintain safe stopping distances between you and the car in front. In wet weather, you should leave double the distance you normally would, and in snow and ice this can be up to 10 times the distance.

“When you’re approaching a bend, get all your speed reduction done before you actually start to turn the steering wheel. If your car does lose grip try not to panic; the key thing is to take your foot off the accelerator and make sure that your wheels are pointing in the direction you want to go in. “When driving in dull, gloomy, wintery conditions, especially in heavy rain and snow, make sure that you use your dipped headlights.

Relying on daytime running lights is not enough, because they don’t always put lights on the back of your car. If visibility drops below a 100m, put your fog lights on. But remember to turn them off when the visibility improves.

You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with DevonLive’s FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page. “If you’re starting off on a long journey, be aware of how cold it is outside the car. There’s a real risk of you being nice and warm in your car and not noticing that the temperature has dropped below freezing outside.

Some cars have a frost light that lets you know when the temperature outside has dropped below freezing, so look out for that. “Finally, it’s important to think about the environment that you’re driving in, especially microclimates that might appear on the road. These are areas that perhaps the sun hasn’t got to, which could stay icy when the rest of the road has thawed.

Bridges are a good example.

They’re normally the first to freeze and the last to thaw.

So be aware of that when you’re driving in open spaces.”

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