Cate Bayes, 63, was travelling home after a long shift as a mental health nurse in Aylesbury when she hit a pothole along the A418 near Wing, damaging her tyre. However, despite calling the RAC for help at around 10pm, she was eventually left with no choice but to call her friend to come and rescue her at around 5am. The recovery company had tried to send a taxi – which couldn’t find her – and it has also apologised and reimbursed her recovery fee.
Cate told The Leighton Buzzard Observer: “Although I was a woman travelling alone on a remote part of the A418, the RAC said there was no patrol car to come to my aid. By then my battery had died, and I was in a frozen car. My friend was disgusted – as was everyone I have told about this. I’m in my 60s and was a woman alone in a remote place – you’d think they would have made me a priority?”
Cate was driving on an isolated part of the A418 when she hit the pothole, so a kind passerby stopped and called Thames Valley Police. An officer arrived quickly to help, with Cate’s vehicle manoeuvred into a slip road and the nurse advised to keep her hazard lights on.
The 63-year-old remembered: “But of course, with the hazards on that kept the car engine running and the battery ran flat. It had just gone midnight and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I had my daughter’s dog blanket on and the kind policeman had given me handwarmers.”
Cate claims that she had contacted the RAC “pretty much straight away” after she broke down, initially via the app, and then rang them about five times during the course of the evening. The breakdown company tried to send a taxi to rescue her, which Cate says was around 3am, but it failed to find her.
“‘The taxi driver said ‘I can’t find you, I’m going home.’ I was stumped to be honest,” says Cate. “After that, nothing happened, so I pulled myself together and called my friend.”
Cate says that the RAC came to collect the car from the A418 the next morning and return it to her house. She would like to thank her chum, Roz Flint, who came to rescue her in the wee small hours of the morning, and her friend, Ian Wilder, who repaired her car at his garage.
An RAC spokesman said: “We’re sorry we couldn’t get to Kate after she hit a pothole. We offered her a taxi to get her home that night, however the driver unfortunately couldn’t find her even after speaking to her on the phone. We also offered to send a patrol the next day, but Kate decided to arrange her own recovery. We’ve apologised to her, reimbursed the recovery fee and given her a gesture of goodwill.”
Cate has also alerted Buckinghamshire County Council about the pothole.