DRAMATIC dashcam footage shows why stranded drivers and their passengers should never wait for rescue on the hard shoulder.
In the clip a lorry suffers a tyre blowout and veers on to the hard shoulder, turning a heavy wooden fence into matchwood and sending debris flying across the carriageway.
The lorry, thought to weigh in the region of 26 tonnes, appears to carry on for at least 50 metres, cutting a huge gouge in the soft turf, before finally stopping.
Thankfully, no-one was stopped on the stretch of the M74 near Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway at the time.
According to statistics from the Department for Transport, 836 people have been killed or injured in hard shoulder and layby collisions every year in the UK since 2000.
Experts say you should move as far away as possible from your vehicle. You should even position yourself so that if the empty vehicle is hit there is no chance of it being propelled into you.
The clip, obtained by driving safety website Scotland’s Worst Drivers, was filmed on July 12 on the southbound carriageway between junctions 14 and 15.
The lorry, which appears to be a tanker, is thought to be travelling at over 50mph, when it suddenly pulls to the left and on to the hard shoulder.
At one point the lorry leaves the hard shoulder and on to the soft grass verge, hitting a heavy wooden fence which explodes, showering debris as far as the central reservation.
The lorry driver, who was reported to be badly shaken but unhurt, eventually manages to bring the vehicle to a half back on the hard shoulder.
A spokesman for the Automobile Association (AA) said: “Whatever the reason for the tanker drifting into the hard shoulder it underlines the dangers of breaking down or stopping for any reason on the motorway.
“If an AA member calls for assistance from a motorway the first thing we do is offer safety advice – that is to exit the car (from the passenger side if possible) and move as far as practically possible away and behind your car (ie ‘’upstream’ of the traffic – as if something hits your car at speed it could push it forward some way).
“The hard shoulder is a dangerous place to find yourself, as is stopping on a managed motorway where the hard shoulder is used at peak times in increase traffic flow. This video underlines the dangers of doing so”
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Policy and Research Director, said: “Research suggests that as many a one in six deaths on the motorway involve a stationary vehicle on the hard shoulder.
“It is an incredibly dangerous place to be. Most breakdowns are avoidable and it is illegal to stop for a non-emergency reasons.
“ If you do have to stop then get everyone out of the vehicle immediately to a safe place behind the barrier and use the emergency phones to call for help. Don’t use your mobile as it is very unlikely that you will know exactly where you are.”