You’ve probably heard the emergency services saying if you break down, you should get out of your vehicle. For the occupants of one car, it could well have saved their life.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to the A45 Coventry Road in Solihull, just next to Birmingham Airport runway at 3.30pm on Monday afternoon.

When the single ambulance that was dispatched arrived, the crew found a Citroen Xsara Picasso with massive rear end damage. It had broken down on a corner on the dual carriageway and been struck by a flatbed van carrying tree trunks.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Fortunately, the occupants of the Picasso were on the verge and were uninjured.

“It is more than fortunate that they were out of the vehicle. Anyone who had been in the rear would have been very badly injured as everything up to the driver’s seat, essentially disappeared.

“The driver of the van, a 20 year old man, was taken to Heartlands Hospital with burns to face from the airbag and chest bruising from seatbelt. Thankfully the injuries were relatively minor.

“The van itself had suffered considerable front end damage from the collision.

“If anyone ever wondered why you should get out of a broken down vehicle, this is it. You can see the level of damage involved. It doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened to someone in the back.”