The incident happened within the M6 junction 21a to junction 26 motorway upgrade construction zone.
The moment was captured by National Highways’ dedicated roadworks team which uses CCTV to monitor traffic, helping to keep drivers safe while vital upgrades to the network are being completed.
Free recovery is in place to quickly move broken down vehicles or others involved in road traffic collisions away from the motorway and help keep other drivers on the move.
But Dave Cooke, National Highways’ project manager, says drivers could be doing a lot more to help themselves.
He said: “No-one wants to break down or run out of petrol on the motorway, let alone doing so within the confined spaces of a construction zone with narrow lanes.
“The driver we spotted stopping to adjust his door mirror in lane three of our roadworks is an extreme example of someone needlessly putting themselves at risk but all drivers should exercise extra awareness and caution driving through motorway roadworks.
“This includes making sure they have enough fuel for journeys and keeping their vehicle well maintained with regular checks of things like tyres.”
Roadworks for the M6 smart motorway upgrade were extended to cover the whole ten miles in October.
They have recently been adjusted north of junction 23 at Haydock after work was completed on a new concrete central reservation barrier along this section of the motorway.
Mr Cooke added: “Since the project started we’ve focused on getting the central reservation ready to install a concrete barrier. This has now been completed north of junction 23 and last month we adjusted the roadworks so we can start work in the hard shoulders.
“A lot of the work we have been doing has been out of sight as we were installing new drainage and ducts for cabling and so on but the photos show how much we’ve actually achieved in the last year. With heavy plant and some deep excavations in the central reservation the images are also a reminder why we have barriers and a 50mph speed limit in place to protect drivers passing through the roadworks.”
More than 120,000 vehicles use this section of the M6 every day.
Replacing the steel restraint system with a concrete barrier will help further increase safety and reduce maintenance, according to National Highways.
New radar detectors positioned along the motorway will automatically detect stationary vehicles.
A total of 92 electronic signs will be used to set variable speed limits to prevent stop-start conditions and close lanes by displaying Red Xs during incidents.
Around 40 new CCTV cameras will provide live images of the motorway 24 hours a day at National Highways’ regional operations centre in Newton-le-Willows.
Drivers will also be able to use one of ten new emergency areas as a place to stop if they experience a breakdown, with roadside telephones providing a direct link to the regional operations centre.