Weeping learner driver left on slip road

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TRAFFIC POLICE yesterday rescued a sobbing learner driver from a motorway slip road after her examiner failed her during her test - then got out and said he was walking back to the test centre. She was left on the A1(M) in County Durham after mistakenly making a wrong turn.

With learner drivers not allowed on motorways, the examiner ordered her to drive on to the hard shoulder of the slip road, told her she had failed and left her. Police have not disclosed the identity of the woman or her driving school.

They said the examiner had not committed any criminal offence but officers had spoken to him about the incident. The driver was on the outskirts of Durham approaching the Carrville roundabout when she misunderstood the examiner's instructions and turned towards the motorway.

After the examiner left, the woman, in her twenties, called police on a mobile telephone and officers were sent to rescue her. One officer drove her and the driving school's car back to the test centre.

A Durham Police spokesman said: "The examiner told her the test was over and advised her to pull over and find an SOS box and telephone police before he got out of the car and walked back up the slip road. The woman was crying and disorientated when she dialled 999 and spoke to an officer in the control room headquarters. At first she was unable to say where she was but her location was determined and a patrol car was sent to the scene.

"This force considers lone women drivers stranded on motorways to be very vulnerable and as a matter of policy dispatch officers to stay with them until the vehicle can be recovered. It was perhaps fortunate, in this case, that the woman was able to use a mobile telephone to get help at an early stage."