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Top tips on staying safe in tunnels

21 Jan 2014 at 09:50

Driving through tunnels can be hazardous, especially when they are unknown to you. Here, IAM chief Peter Rodger takes a look at some expert safety tips.

There are a number of precautions motorists can take to keep themselves and their passengers safe on journeys involving tunnels.

Firstly, before entering a tunnel, check you've got plenty of fuel in your tank - you don't want to run out inside.

Switch on the traffic information - some larger European road tunnels have their own radio in addition to electronic signs, and remove your sunglasses as they will limit your vision inside the darkly lit tunnel.

Once inside the tunnel, headlights should be switched on and dipped - full beam will cause a hazard for other motorists.

Keep to the speed limit and ensure there's plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front. Be aware of the positions of emergency pedestrian exits, and in two-way tunnels, keep well to the nearside kerb and don't switch lanes unless instructed to do so.

In the event of a breakdown put your hazard lights on straight away and; try to coast to a breakdown lay-by or stop as close to the nearside kerb as you can.

Turn off the engine but leave the key in the ignition so the vehicle can be moved. Get out of the car and walk carefully to a safe place, preferably a pedestrian walkway if there is one.

If you have a reflective jacket, put it on and walk carefully to the nearest emergency phone to inform the operator.

Rodger said: "Though you may see a tunnel as just another stretch of road, there are specific precautions that you must be aware of and implement when using one.

"Remember, if there is a fire or an accident, don't wait to act - fire and smoke can be fatal. Leave the vehicle and walk to a safe place. Save your life and not your car."

Copyright Press Association 2014