This evening Daughter had a very lucky escape while driving down the M5. Right before her eyes, within a split second, a 9-car crunch happened. Fortunately, there was space for her to pull into the outside lane before performing an emergency stop. The four cars in front were concertinaed into each other, two hit the central reservation, one shot off up the embankment and various others collided. Daughter called the Police and was twice cut off. She then rang me asking me to ring the Force to make them aware of the buckled heaps on the carriageway.
I have the greatest respect for our emergency services and, after immediately being asked what service I wanted, I was put through to the Police Emergency Control Room. I informed the woman (for she clearly wasn’t a lady, judging by the way she spoke to me) what had just happened. Her response? Tell your daughter to ring the local Police. I explained she couldn’t having been forced to keep moving as her car had just been started by the RAC and she was en route to a garage and couldn’t switch off the engine. Now I know that the Police Forces are constantly in touch with each other and the news could have been passed in the time I was being chastised. Finally, she agreed to inform the neighbouring boys in blue – or black as it so often is these days.
Shortly afterwards, a very polite man from the Highways Agency rang asking exactly where the incident was and thanking me for making them aware. What a difference a couple of minutes makes, eh. This chap was keen to do the necessary and asked for the information I had. He also asked me to thank Daughter.
A close friend of mine works in the Police Control Room for another Force and was disgusted when I relayed this story to her. She told me they even had a case where a young girl had accidentally overdosed on insulin in Mexico and rang her mother in the UK. She contacted her local Force and they managed to get the necessary help to her in Mexico. And my call taker couldn’t even deal with two stops up the M5? Come on lady, time could be of the essence and your dilatory attitude could cost lives!
I’m truly grateful that Daughter arrived at the local garage safely from where we collected her and brought her home.
My thoughts go out to everyone needing to call upon our wonderful Emergency Services tonight and a big thank you to all those who serve us around the clock, every single day. What a pity my call taker sitting in the warmth of the control room didn’t share their sense of urgency and service and what a blessing that she eventually handed the information to someone who did.
As I write we’re still awaiting safe arrival of Son who rang to say M6 was at a standstill with traffic backed up for miles. I was able to tell him why. He was shocked and worried about his sister and very thankful that she’s safe and well. I’ll be relieved when he’s safely home.