Automobile Accident Lawyers Examine Roadside Accidents
Stopping on an interstate highway shoulder seems reasonably safe. You’re out of the traffic flow, not moving, and need not concern yourself with safe driving. However, this is a false feeling of security because although you are out of the traffic flow, you aren’t out of the reach of the high-speed traffic just a few feet off to your side.
You are probably safer driving with the flow of traffic where only the few cars in front and next to you can potentially cause harm. On the other hand, a five-minute stop on the shoulder can expose you to as many as 150 cars spaced two seconds apart in the right lane. The longer you stay there, the greater the probability that a drowsy or distracted driver will drive by you or possibly into you. This point is dramatically illustrated in this video.
Everyone Is at Risk
Unfortunately, anyone can be the victim of a roadside accident. Driving skills play no part in your risk. Engine problems, an empty fuel tank, a flat tire, or a patrolman pulling you over for a minor traffic violation can place you at risk.
If your problem doesn’t require an immediate stop, get off at an exit. Otherwise, pull your car completely off the right lane and on to the shoulder. Turn on your emergency hazard lights to warn the traffic passing by you. If you have to leave your car, exit from the side farthest from the traffic. If this isn’t possible, wait until there is no traffic coming your way before getting out. Spend no more time on the shoulder than necessary.
Other victims of roadside accidents include patrolmen, tow truck operators, emergency medical service personnel, and construction workers.
Why Motorists Collide into Parked Vehicles on the Shoulder
Sometimes roadside accidents occur because of a mechanical problem that causes a loss of control of the vehicle. However, it’s more commonly caused by driver errors which include:
- Distracted driving. More people engage in this because its danger hasn’t gained the same recognition as driving under the influence. In addition, there are many ways that drivers get distracted.
- Fatigued driving. Long distance vacation driving is one common reason for this problem. Fatigued commercial truck drivers also contribute to the problem.
- Target fixation. Target fixation occurs when intense focus on an object causes the motorist to drive toward the object. This can happen when rubbernecking an accident scene for example. This occurs to motorists who are inexperienced or become overwhelmed by the distraction.
- Driving under the influence. Drunk driving impairs judgment and often causes the driver to drift out of his lane.
- Passing on the shoulder. This form of reckless driving is extremely dangerous. The driver can lose track of obstacles on the shoulder or misjudge distances while trying to merge back on to the road.