Lane Ranger for March 24

Dear Lane Ranger,

Most people are quick to complain and rarely compliment. This is why I wanted to take some time to share my story.

Yesterday, I was on my way home heading west on Interstate 66. Around Va. 28 in Centreville, my car just stopped. Unfortunately, I was in the left lane next to the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. I was trapped with cars buzzing by me on both sides. This is a very scary feeling having cars going more than 65 MPH on both sides of you, with other cars approaching fast behind you.

Being a little frantic, I called 911. I was transferred to the Virginia State Police. I was a little hysterical and was not sure what to do (OK, maybe more than a little hysterical). The operator for the State Police advised me to calm down and that she would make sure that someone was on the way.

I cannot tell you the relief I felt knowing that someone was coming to rescue me. In a few minutes, I was able to get my car started again. Not wanting to waste anyone’s time, I called the State Police to cancel the call for help.

I was able to make it to the shoulder on the right side of the road between exits for U.S. 29 and U.S. 15 before my car stopped again.

I was relieved that I was not sitting in the middle of a travel lane, but I was still very concerned that I was broken down on an interstate.

With all of the stories about people being hit and killed on the side of the intestates, I was very nervous sitting on the side of the road.

Approximately 15 to 20 minutes later, a nice young man, David Bennett, from Virginia Department Of Transportation Emergency Roadside Service stopped. He was very courteous and made sure that I had help coming.

David stayed with me until my husband arrived, and he made sure we had road flares and that we were safe. David said that he would stop to check on us on his next swing by the area. I assured him that the tow truck would be there any minute, and we would be gone.

Of course, David stopped by again since our tow truck had not yet arrived.

I would have been even more hysterical if I would have been left to fend for myself. I must say that this experience was not one I would like to go through again, but knowing that VDOT has competent courteous employees and services to help motorists makes me feel better.

I have been reading in the papers that VDOT’s budget has been cut (like everyone else’s in the country), but this service is a service that should NOT be cut. I never really realized how serious a break down on an interstate could be, until it happened to me.

If VDOT did not have the roadside services, there would be more deaths on our roads, more back-ups, more instances of road rage for the cars trying to get around the breakdowns, and more hysterical women sitting on the side of the road.

Gov. Mark R.Warner should be expanding this service instead of cutting it. With all of the growth in Prince William County, the roadside service on Interstate 66 west should be expanded to include the corridor between Va. 28 in Centreville to U.S. 15 in Haymarket on more than one day a week. I feel very fortunate that I broke down on the day that this route was being monitored.

The three key points that I am trying to make are:

— Hats off to VDOT and David Bennett for the excellent services that were provided.

— VDOT’s roadside services should be expanded to include the U.S. 15 exit more than one day a week.

— I hope the governor reevaluates cutting these types of services.

Thank you again!

— Debbie Walston, Haymarket

Dear Debbie,

VDOT is going to love this letter.

— The Lane Ranger

Please send questions or comments on transportation to: Lane Ranger, c/o Potomac News, P.O. Box 2470, Woodbridge, VA 22195; fax: (703) 878-8099; e-mail to [email protected] or by phone: (703) 878-8062.

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