Dad uses car to stop out-of-control vehicle on busy motorway
John Barlow stopped an out-of-control car on the M62 (John Barlow/PA)

A motorist has told of the dramatic moment he used his vehicle to stop a car whose driver had fallen seriously ill at the wheel in the outside lane of a busy motorway.

John Barlow thought the other driver was dead when he looked in to the car heading slowly along the overtaking lane of the M62 near Leeds on Saturday.

He got his Hyundai in front of the Audi, then took his foot off the accelerator and eased the car behind to a halt, before getting out to help the man, who was barely breathing.

The two cars bumped together before stopping (John Barlow/PA)

After trying to break into the locked vehicle using his elbow, Mr Barlow was helped by a tradesman with a hammer to get access to the stricken middle-aged driver, and then tilted his head back to free his airway.

Others then stopped to help, including a doctor on the other carriageway of the M62 who travelled to the next junction, turned round then battled through the backed-up traffic to get to work with a defibrillator.

Mr Barlow, a 59-year-old martial arts instructor from Middleton, Greater Manchester, told the PA news agency he had first noticed the Audi in the outside lane going slower and slower and pulled alongside.

He said: “He looked dead at the wheel.

The drama played out on the outside lane of the M62 near Leeds (John Barlow/PA)

“I could see his lips were blue and he had blood trickling down his face.

“His head was tilting forward.

“I thought ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to stop him’.

“I matched his speed then eased my way in front of him and then slowly took my foot off the accelerator.”

He was driving his wife Kirsty and son Joey, seven, to pick up a new kitten in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, and his son in the back screamed as the runaway car behind bumped into them.

The family managed to get to Pontefract to collect Joey’s kitten (John Barlow/PA)

“I guess the car behind was going 30mph, he hit my car a couple of times and then we came to a stop,” he said.

Mr Barlow was helped by the tradesman to get into the car, then a first aid refresher course he had recently taken kicked in and he opened the seriously ill driver’s airway by tilting his jaw backwards, at which point the man took in a gasp of air.

Others drivers stopped at the scene, bringing the four-lane carriageway to a halt, and a physio and an off-duty female police officer took over the first aid until paramedics arrived.

Mr Barlow said: “Everyone was amazing, it was a real team effort. They got the man on the floor, then the doctor jumped in as well.”

The next day Mr Barlow received a call from West Yorkshire Police thanking him and he was told the driver had suffered a seizure but was well enough to go home.

Mr Barlow’s car was not badly damaged in the impact and he was able to continue the journey to get Joey his kitten.

He hoped to meet the man he saved in the future, saying: “I’d shake his hand and give him a hug.”

And he asked for people to think about taking a first aid course and having something in their car that could be used to break a window in an emergency.

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