Friday, 19 July 2019

RAC recovery service took five hours to rescue me

RAC recovery service took five hours to rescue me

A WOMAN was left stranded at a busy road junction for more than five hours after she called the RAC following a breakdown.

Jeannie Page was pulling on to Fair Mile, Henley, from the B480 at Lower Assendon when the suspension on the rear driver’s side wheel of her Honda CRV snapped.

This caused the chassis to drop so the wheel arch and tyre were
touching.

She couldn’t move forwards or backwards so she called the breakdown service as she has been a member for several years.

She told the operator that the
Y-registered vehicle couldn’t be fixed at the scene so a recovery truck was needed.

Miss Page, who lives at Swiss Farm, off Marlow Road, was told that she would be rescued about 90 minutes after her breakdown at 1pm on Tuesday last week.

However, a towing lorry did not arrive until about 6.30pm after a series of mishaps. It then took the driver another hour to load the car on to the lorry before driving her to the ExpressFit garage in Reading Road, Henley.

Miss Page, a dog trainer, was travelling with her miniature schnauzers Willow and Jewels and a third dog owned by a client when she broke down on her way to another customer.

She said she briefly stopped at the junction to check her path was clear but when she touched the accelerator, she heard a loud bang and felt her car slump down at the back.

Miss Page said: “I’ve got a bit of mechanical knowledge so I had a look and could see the wishbone had come away from the wheel.

“I’ve got a friend in Reading who’s a mechanic and would have called them out if I’d known what was going to happen but it made sense to call the RAC because that’s what I pay for.

“I explained that there was no point sending a regular man and van but the lady on the phone wasn’t particularly co-operative even when I said it was a precarious situation.

“I was stuck at this busy junction with my dogs in crates on a hot day but that didn’t seem to sink in.”

Miss Page called the police, who sent an officer to the scene about half an hour later.

He left two cones in the road behind her car to stop drivers crashing into it and stayed for several hours but eventually had to leave to deal with another incident.

Miss Page also arranged for a professional minder to collect and look after the dogs as she didn’t feel it was safe to let them out near the busy dual carriageway.

She said: “They’re used to travelling with me and I keep plenty of water in the car for them so they were comfortable enough but it was a hot day and I didn’t want to leave them in there for too long.

“Luckily, everyone coming from the Assendons could see what had happened and braked. A few people asked if they could help, which was very kind but there was literally nothing they could do.

“I called the RAC again after a few hours and the second lady was just as unhelpful.

“I said I’d waited more than 90 minutes and she just said I’d have to wait at least another hour. I said that wasn’t good enough but she didn’t seem bothered so I had to just keep sitting there.”

An RAC driver was sent to the scene at about 5pm.

When he was about 10 minutes away he called Miss Page but soon realised he couldn’t help because he was in a roadside repair van so he told her there was no point in him coming.

Miss Page said: “I called the RAC again and the woman was very understanding but said she couldn’t get a tow truck out for another hour, which made me burst into tears.

“I was trying to stay calm but I was so stressed because it felt like it was dragging on and on with no explanation or any sign of something being done.”

Miss Page eventually walked to a nearby house so she could use their toilet. When she returned she found two cars had collided almost head-on at the junction.

The driver of one car suffered minor injuries after his airbag went off and paramedics were still treating him at the roadside when Miss Page finally left the scene.

After being towed away, her car was found to also have a broken drive shaft. She arranged for the damage to be fixed the following morning and is discussing the cause of the breakdown with her regular garage.

Miss Page said: “The RAC left me in the lurch and in a very dangerous position but so far they haven’t responded to my complaint. It seems like everything they do is delayed.

“I was worried about my dogs all afternoon, especially as one of them has separation anxiety, and I’m really cross that I was put in such a stressful position.”

An RAC spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to Miss Page for the delay she experienced as a result of us not sending a recovery vehicle to her straight away.

“We would like to point out that this is not typical of our usual service, which sees us rescue thousands of drivers successfully every day.”

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