By Chris Adams
Shocking footage has emerged of the moment the side of a lorry appeared to give way in bad weather – sending debris spilling into oncoming motorway traffic.
Steve Andreolotti was driving on the M5 near Gloucester when he noticed chunks of material flying towards him on the carriageway.
His wife Katie filmed unusual footage the couple claim shows an entire right-hand panel missing from the side of the lorry in front.
As they overtook the HGV, Steve and his wife could see it was transporting what appeared to be prefabricated cabins they say had become fully exposed due to the heavy winds.
The haulage firm’s boss defended the driver’s decision not to pull over, claiming it would have been unsafe for him to use the hard shoulder.
Steve, a 55-year-old gardener from Bristol, said: “I could see all this insulation, or what looked like fibreglass, coming towards us. I didn’t know what was going to fall out next.
“I couldn’t believe they didn’t pull over. In my opinion, it was definitely dangerous. We could see it driving for at least another mile. Why not pull over to the hard shoulder?
“When we went past we could see the cabins inside. They were totally exposed so it was no wonder stuff was flying through the air.
“Thankfully it wasn’t anything hard or there could have been an accident. Katie was a bit frightened and let out a bit of a yelp because she didn’t know what was going to happen next.
“The front of the car was covered in this fibreglass stuff afterwards. We could see the lorry behind us for a good distance afterwards and it still hadn’t pulled over.
“I flashed my hazards at him and signalled that there was a problem and he should have a break and slow down. He stayed very calm and kept driving.
“I thought the whole load was shaking and wasn’t sure what was attached and what wasn’t. The wind was really strong and I thought the entire wagon might tip over.”
The couple spotted the lorry as they made their way back from a getaway in Tewkesbury for Katie’s 40th birthday on March 5.
Richard Tovey Transport Ltd, the Bristol haulage firm whose vehicle was involved, said the incident had been properly dealt with.
Director Richard Tovey, 52, said: “Those cabins are shored up by polystyrene. On the motorway, in bad weather, these things happen.
“It was dealt with on the day. It would have been dangerous for the driver to pull on to the hard shoulder because the polystyrene was coming out his side.
“If the driver had pulled over, it could have caused an accident and he could have been killed. He pulled over at the next service station.
“That was one of 10 loads we transported that day to Weston-super-Mare and the police were kept informed of our movements.
“If other drivers had such an issue with it they should have reported it to the authorities.”