Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help is on the way

“You’re my savior!”
“Now I won’t be late for work.”
“Thank you for getting me off this busy highway.”

Those are just a few of the things I heard drivers say recently to St. Louis motor assist operators. I had the great pleasure of riding along with a few of these MoDOT team members to see why it’s important to keep highway traffic moving, and experienced a lesson in humanity as well.

The main goal of MoDOT's motorist assist program is to keep traffic moving on the busy highways in the St. Louis and Kansas City area. For every minute a lane is closed… 20 minutes of backup is the result. This is not only problematic for traffic flow, but dangerous too. Cars and trucks go zipping by at speeds exceeding 70 MPH and many of these stranded motorists feel confused as to what to do next. Many people don’t know why their car stalled, how to change a tire, or have anyone to call if they run out of gas. It was quite amazing to see relief and joy appear on dozens of faces once they realized help had arrived and their stopped vehicle was able to get going again. It was nice to see people get the help they desperately needed, but I also noticed that by assisting these motorists it allowed for everyone else to continue safely down the highway.

I was glad to see just how dedicated MoDOT motorist assist operators are when it came to helping drivers and keeping traffic running smoothly. I was a part of more than 25 assists and the MoDOT operators I took a ride with were able to get every one of these stranded drivers off the shoulder and back on the highway. Many Missourians don’t realize this service exists and are even more surprised when they’re told the help is free.

Let’s hope none of you have to deal with car troubles that force you off the road, but feel solace in the fact that help from MoDOT and motorist assist operators is on the way.