A truck driver has been praised by Somerset & Avon Police for her actions that saved the life of another driver and prevented a major collision from occurring on the M5 by safely directing an out-of-control vehicle onto the hard shoulder.
Dawn Leonard, 52, a driver for DHL, was travelling northbound on the M5 between J25 (Taunton) and J24 (Bridgwater) on Thursday 8 March when she noticed something was wrong ahead of her on the motorway.
“There were lots of cars stopping and I could see a lorry in the outside lane that seemed to be in some difficulty,” she explained. “The vehicle drifted towards the inside lane so I assumed he was going to pull over, when he suddenly began to verge towards the central reservation.”
The driver was slipping in and out of consciousness, and struggling to keep control of the vehicle – although Dawn was unaware of this at the time,
“I had to do something to stop him hitting the central reservation or other cars, or else something awful was going to happen,” Dawn added. “I sped up and began blasting my horn to try to gain the attention of the driver, he was non-responsive.”
Dawn positioned herself between the central barrier and the other HGV, attempting to slow the vehicle down by making contact and as a result she was able to move it into the hard shoulder, where it came to a stop by mounting the verge.
“I stopped my vehicle in the hard shoulder as soon as it was safe to do so along with other drivers to check on the driver. Emergency services arrived and quickly took control of situation.”
The driver received no injuries, was taken to hospital and has since been discharged.
Matthew Boiles, roads policing officer for Avon & Somerset, said: “Dawn knew something wasn’t right and was able to foresee the potentially catastrophic consequences that could have ensued had the truck collided with another road user or the barrier. She demonstrated her professional driving skills and quick thinking to avoid the incident that could have led to serious or fatal consequences for members of the public.”
Dawn added: “You never know how you’re going to react in these kinds of situations and I couldn’t sit without doing anything. Had he hit cars or the barrier it would be anyone’s guess what could’ve happened. I’m just glad the driver is ok and I wish him and family all the best.”