View Full Version : Just helping out

1st May 2012, 17:37
Do-gooder directs heavy traffic after lights go out - CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2012/05/01/traffic-direct-toronto-lights548.html)

Would this happen anywhere else?
Would the drivers, and the cops all co-operate so well?

1st May 2012, 18:02
...coming back from E Toronto across the city to the airport. Major power failure during t/storm. ALL lights go out, not just the traffic lights, AND STAY OUT.
Driving a hire car with some service colleagues we found ourselves being "helped" by people waving these "Bengal Flare" matches. Seemed to be OK.

What civic minded peeps we thought. Error!

Too late, we discovered they were marshalling everyone into a nose to nose Sicilian standoff at a 5-way junction. They then dumped the matches and scarpered.

Took until 2AM to sort it all out.

We were not happy bears.

The Ancient Mariner

1st May 2012, 19:14
Ya shooda seen it during the August '03 power failure. At almost every intersection there was a volunteer acting as an intelligent traffic light. Passengers would direct until their cars passed the intersection then hop aboard and someone else would take over. Worked a treat!

After an excellent landing etc...

1st May 2012, 19:35
Commonplace bonhomie in Canada.

When North America gave its total electrical blackout a few years ago, Ottawa had several analogous idiosyncrats living out their phantasies at cross-walks. Worked well for traffic and, I suppose, themselves.

1st May 2012, 22:23
Immediately south of our village is a single-track bridge that carries all north-south and east-west traffic, including fourteen buses each hour. The bridge is 'humped' so the ends are not visible to each other.
It is controlled by traffic-lights (of course), but when they failed a group of youngsters elected to act as traffic signals - though at first they got lip from motorists until they realised what they were doing was necessary:-
Hexham Courant | News | News at a Glance | Quick-thinking youngsters (http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/news-at-a-glance/quick-thinking-youngsters-1.892687)

2nd May 2012, 03:27
A couple of years ago a road train ran a red light and wiped out a young lady in her car, just after dusk.

A civic minded motorist with traffic management experience and a high viz vest, travelling behind the road train, stopped and began directing traffic through the scene.

Tragically, he was mown down and killed by a 19 yo drunk, with more horsepower than sense.

Loose rivets
2nd May 2012, 05:18
42 years ago, at Frinton, there was an horrific accident at a crossroads. I spent the longest 20 minuets of my life helping to tend to the 4 young people that had been in the car. There was no other car involved.

The first thing I did was to get the Rivetess to position our car just ahead of one victim who was in the middle of the road. She stayed in the car and flashed the headlights at the oncoming. Given it was pub turning out time, the road was known to be a bit of a racetrack.

When I got to the girl, I just couldn't believe she was alive. Saw her years later working at AMS airport. Couldn't think of a polite way of saying how I recognized her, but so wanted to ask how she was, etc.

Five hours later I was blasting off from LUT. Felt like crap, but as always, no one to replace me.

2nd May 2012, 06:00
There was a gridlock in the multi-storied carpark at a mall in
BKK few years ago and we couldn't get the car out. So I stuck
on me flurojacket thingy I use for walk-arounds and broke up
the gridlock from our level down - then I promptly jumped in
the car and left the mess once the missus reached the exit! :)

2nd May 2012, 07:23
Would this happen anywhere else?

Sure hope it does not.

For a start there are innumerable liability issues.

Would the drivers, and the cops all co-operate so well?

The drivers should not co-operate. On public roads, drivers should only ever co-operate with lawfully given instructions given by people authorised to do so under national legislation.

Cops should relieve any crazy person of their duties as soon as they are informed of the event occurring.

Solid Rust Twotter
2nd May 2012, 07:54
We have volunteer signalmen sponsored by an insurance company out here. They get around on motorcycles and are paid a stipend I think. When it all goes pear shaped due to power failures or other problems during rush hour, as happens all too often with a failing infrastructure, these guys jump in and sort it out. The authorities can't cope or just couldn't be bothered.

OUTsurance Pointsmen (http://www.outsurance.co.za/pointsmen/)

Loose rivets
2nd May 2012, 08:13
So I stuck
on me flurojacket thingy I use for walk-arounds and broke up
the gridlock from our level down -

Yep, I was wearing the top half of my uniform, since my casual jacket was under the head of one victim. Everyone just seemed to do what I said. I vaguely recall saying 'Funny things, uniforms,' when I've mentioned this before.

2nd May 2012, 10:43
That's true Loose. It pisses me off when I'm driving down the
highway and forget to cover my uniform - and everyone slows
down to a crawl because everybody thinks I'm a bloody traffic

DX Wombat
2nd May 2012, 11:09
Probably one of the best examples of people working together to help out was the aircraft crash at Kegworth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kegworth_air_disaster) when many passing motorists stopped to help. I seem to remember reading somewhere that a foreign tourist was so impressed by the cooperation that he thought people in the UK were given special training for such an event.

Worrals in the wilds
2nd May 2012, 11:17
I've actually done this. Bad road accident, big road, idiot features (also known as WITW :}) isn't needed for first aid and jumps in to direct traffic around the incident. Tell you what, the fireys might make it in minutes but you're counting the period in seconds, when it's you in casual clothes versus three lanes of speeding idiots. 'Don't hit me you crazy :mad:er, I'm trying to help you out here!' was the prayer of the day. Fortunately God understood. :ooh:

It all went okay, but what if it didn't? What if someone misconstrued my directions and killed someone else? Who's liable? Who's guilty? :(

All these things crossed my mind and I still did it because I didn't want to see someone run up the arse of the crashed vehicles, but...IMO you're taking a punt. It's a bit like First Aid; do your best but don't stuff up...and what's your training?

2nd May 2012, 13:05
Some years ago, I had left the motorway to drive on a parallel road into a town to find somewhere to eat.
It was a hot summer's afternoon and the road was dead straight and level but deserted.
After several miles I came upon a serious crash where a motorcycle had collided with a car and caravan that were turning into a narrow gateway.

At one stage the car and caravan were at right angles across the road and the motorcycle was wedged between the car and the caravan. The rider was still sat on his machine but unconscious (and seriously injured).

The emergency services had been summoned, but, meanwhile the occasional passing car (travelling at high speed) risked crashing into the wreckage.

With another person to help we positioned ourselves at a distance either side of the incident to warn traffic and control the single vehicle-width gap that remained.

It was quite some time before the ambulance arrived and even longer before the Police arrived. The Police asked us to continue directing traffic whilst they assessed the scene and whilst the rider was removed into the ambulance (where he received emergency treatment).

After some time, a female pillion passenger was found lying in undergrowth where she had been catapulted by the impact. Fortunately she survived, however the rider succumbed to his injuries (I later discovered).

I must point out that I'm not trained in medical matters, therefore I considered my value as a traffic 'controller' to be of more use than attempting to interfere with the injured rider (who was unconscious and sitting upright astride his machine). It seemed more important to prevent a secondary crash. There were several others in attendance (including the occupants of the car towing the caravan) but none had considered directing traffic.

It seemed me to be the natural thing to do.

2nd May 2012, 14:00
Back in the '80s, there were gaps in the central barrier on the A1. A nav and myself were driving north past St Neots on a busy Sunday afternoon when we were the second car on the scene of a big shunt where some muppet in an XR4i had tried to do a u-ey through the gap and been hit by a car in the fast lane. The gap was just after a couple of sharp curves, so there was very little warning. The first car on the scene had managed to swerve off onto the hard shoulder, and was driven by....another nav from our squadron (spooky!). The three of us got sorted on organising traffic duty and first aid. The first aid was fortunately straightforward, but the traffic was not easy. There were several near misses as we had to work our way round the curves to give drivers warning. All the southbound traffic had slowed to take a look, so all the northbound drivers were looking at the southbound queue, so not looking for us waving for them to slow down. For about five minutes, we were often close to a 100+ car pile-up. I'm certain there would have been one if we hadn't helped. The vast majority just swerved round the wreckage, usually at silly speeds, and carried on without stopping to help

Driving standards were such that I often thought I wouldn't bother stopping for another UK major road accident - too risky. However, I wouldn't have the same concerns in Canada, partly from driving standards but mostly because everybody, without exception, co-operates and helps over here when something goes wrong.

2nd May 2012, 14:40
Few years ago, Bridgwater carnival. We've finished the procession and the cart (a tractor, 60 foot trailer and 25 foot generator trailer) are heading back home, mission accomplished, looking forward to a pint (or ten). Then, half-way round the main roundabout in Bridgwater (A38 meets A39) the tractor gear-box seizes. So we now have a 120 foot long rig parked, immovably until we get more machinery in, across the main roundabout in town. Around which all the people (100,000 or so) who came to see the carnival are trying to go to get out of town.

So we started organizing things.

Now I admit that standing in the middle of the traffic whilst wearing a hi-vis vest (nisked off the road crew) and a black tu-tu and hiking boots (my costume) may have looked a bit odd. But between us (to be fair most of the others were wearing white tu-tus) we kept the traffic moving - mainly by dint blocking off an inbound lane on the roundabout and waving the traffic through the wrong way round the roundabout.

Then the traffic plod arrived, told us we couldn't do what we were doing. So we said OK, wandered off to the nearest pub and left them to it.

Worrals in the wilds
2nd May 2012, 21:23
Now I admit that standing in the middle of the traffic whilst wearing a hi-vis vest (nisked off the road crew) and a black tu-tu and hiking boots (my costume) may have looked a bit odd.Actually everyone probably slowed down to get a look. Maybe professional traffic control companies should do something similar and get their staff to wear interesting outfits. :}

2nd May 2012, 21:26
Well intentioned, but a little foolish ?

2nd May 2012, 21:38
Always thinking about shoving a couple of yellow lights (set for flashing) with magnets on bottom, into the boot as in event of needing them shove them on top of car and stick car in the way of whatever is coming.

Little cloud
2nd May 2012, 21:45
Funniest accident I ever saw was three big blokes in a beat up rusty builder's pick up truck (over)laden with concrete in a heap. On a roundabout the truck snapped in two, luckily there was very little traffic about. The front end spun round and stopped, the back end shot off and cartwheeled onto the verge. Big blokes get out roaring and laughing and pick up the front end like a wheelbarrow and push it off the road!

2nd May 2012, 22:47
Back in 1966 I saw (from the top deck of a double decker) a Jaguar E-type drophead split in two along the backs of the seats with the two sections becoming widely separated.

It turned out to have been two sections welded together (not very efficiently as it turned out).

The driver wasn't wearing a seatbelt otherwise he would have been garotted . . .

He was 'a bit of a lad' and, no doubt, was in on the recreation of the vehicle from crashed vehicles.

This was all before MOT tests.

Worrals in the wilds
2nd May 2012, 23:36
It turned out to have been two sections welded together (not very efficiently as it turned out).Wow, a cut-and-shut! That's what they were referred to in the motor trade here. It was a very widespread criminal practice in the 1970s and 80s.

I'd always heard they were terrible in accidents, sounds like that was true. :ooh:

3rd May 2012, 02:46
but...IMO you're taking a punt.
Yep the good old days of leadership and initiative are well and
truly over since the parasitic lawyers took over the law. In the
era of the "Sue first ask questions later" its best not to give a
crap about the safety of your fellow man (or woman) and just
act purely in the interest of #1 - if someone happens to get
saved in the process then bully for him (or her).

As Mixture inferred - if some bastard ends up injured or killed
dead by your direction.....no matter how well-intentioned you
were and how urgent the situation was, it will be your arse on
the chopping block and no one will really give a shit. Oh some
might write into newspapers and Twotter saying how unfair a
verdict was, but since when has Justice ever been fair?

If I recall the Oz road code book correctly it said somewhere in
there that any driver can take whatever action is necessary to
preserve human life - a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Whether its
still in there these days I wouldn't know.

Worrals in the wilds
3rd May 2012, 03:05
If I recall the Oz road code book correctly it said somewhere in there that any driver can take whatever action is necessary to preserve human life -I'm pretty sure it's not in the Queensland road rules, though it's been a while since I read them thoroughly. They're just not that thrilling...:zzz::}

If you hurt or kill someone while you're driving you're probably going to end up in court anyway, so I guess the blame factor gets assigned through that process.

3rd May 2012, 03:10
It was definitely in that South Oz book Worrals and maybe in
Victoria as well. Never bothered to read 'em after Adelaide as
I simply swapped licences when I moved from State to State
untold yonks ago.