Officers from Cumbria Police’s Mobile Support Group were forced into swift action yesterday afternoon (13 Nov) after a HGV shed two tyres on the motorway.
The incident happened at around 4.20pm yesterday. One of the tyres came to stop on the verge but the second was travelling at around 60mph along the hard shoulder and heading towards the first lane of the M6 southbound, around two miles north of Shap.
The officer at the scene driving the police patrol car decided the tyre posed a serious risk to the safety of other road users and used his vehicle to get in front of the tyre, allowing it to strike the rear nearside of their vehicle in an effort to deflect the wheel into the verge.
This initial contact slowed the wheel and kept it onto the hard shoulder. However, due to its weight (over 100kg) and momentum, as it touched the nearside kerb, it bounced back towards lane one and into the road.
The officers then had to deliberately strike the wheel out of lane one, using the front of their vehicle in order to prevent it from colliding with live, high speed traffic. The officers had to do this twice before the wheel finally came to rest on the hard shoulder.
This action caused significant damage to the patrol car but prevented a potentially far more serious incident, with the risk of a tyre striking the front of a vehicle travelling along the M6 at around 70mph.
Chief Inspector Andy Wilkinson said: “I have no doubt that the quick-thinking of the officers travelling in the patrol vehicle has potentially saved other road users from serious injury – if not worse.
“Whilst their actions involved putting themselves at risk, they were able to use their high-level of advanced driving skills to bring to an end a hazardous situation therein committing to the safety of members of the public using the motorway.
“Had the tyre bounced up and gone through the windscreen of a car travelling at speed along the M6, the incident could easily have ended in tragedy.
Both officers are a credit to both the Mobile Support Group and Cumbria Constabulary as a whole.”
The vehicle which lost its tyres was transporting sheep. It’s not believed that any of the animals were injured in the incident.
The driver was served with a Traffic Offence Report due to the condition of the vehicle.