Awol engines, weird warning lights and naked lockouts

Article date: 26 January 2010

  • It’s all in a day’s work for RAC patrols 

Over 2.7 million breakdowns are attended by RAC each year and no two breakdowns are the same. With nearly 2,000 patrols on the UK’s roads some of the more unusual and amusing recent callouts include:

  1. A callout to a car, stuck on the drive, which wouldn’t start. The RAC Patrol quickly diagnosed the problem. The engine had been removed!
  2. During the recent bad weather a patrol was called to rescue a Land Rover from a ditch. A passing 4x4 hadn’t been able to get the trapped couple out so RAC tracked down the nearest farmer. He had a 4X4 tractor but it wasn’t working. The patrol fixed that first then together they rescued the Land Rover. Great teamwork and a bit of free labour!
  3. One patrol tried to retrieve a member’s locked-in keys from their boot by removing a rear speaker and hooking the keys onto an extendable rod. It didn’t work so the patrol offered to drive the member home to get the spare set. As they walked to the RAC van the car magically unlocked itself, all thanks to a rogue swede that had rolled out of the shopping bags and hit the unlock button on the keys (the poking around had paid off!).
  4. A case of mistaken identity, when a patrol went to a local hospice to pick up a member who had broken down in the car park. He went to the reception and advised a passing nurse that he was here to collect a "Mrs Smith". He was led into a side room, where there was a trolley with a body on. He was just contemplating what to do when the Sister arrived and said "Ahh RAC, I’ll get your customer…" The original nurse had mistaken the patrol for a porter from the morgue!
  5. A motorist who called RAC for assistance after a warning light on his dashboard came on. He described the light as "a man holding a snooker cue," it turned out to be the seatbelt warning light! The worrying thing was he was a taxi driver.
  6. A hopeful member who called RAC to check whether he could extend his cover to his electric wheelchair.
  7. A midnight RAC callout was from a naked motorist hiding behind a tree. He’d got locked out of his car, distracted by a passionate outdoor moment with his partner. She was nowhere to be seen but the patrol handed over his RAC jacket and jumper to help them retain their dignity!
  8. An RAC member who’d misfuelled and was concerned he was going to miss his flight. He then mentioned to our patrol he’d managed to get the plane delayed. It turned out he wasn’t a celebrity but an essential component of the flight, the pilot! The plane did eventually take off, with him onboard, two hours later than scheduled.
  9. One member who was so pleased to see our RAC Patrol pull onto his drive he locked himself out of the house! Luckily between the pair of them they managed to get back in.
  10. A pregnant member, stuck on the roadside, who asked the patrol to bring her the Big Mac she craved before she’d allow him to concentrate on fixing her car!

For more details on RAC Breakdown and to take advantage of free at home cover visit, call 08000 722 822 or talk to a patrol.


RAC Press office contacts:
Lucy Haughey 
Telephone: 01603 688891 / 07800 690149

Vicki Burn 
Telephone: 01603 684224 / 07800 692909

Notes to editors:

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by J D Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last four years and the top named service organisation in the July 2009 UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service. 

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005.  The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Aviva UK Insurance. Aviva is the UK's largest insurer with a market share of around 15%.

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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