A recent truck accident involving a disabled motorist across the state highlights the potential dangers of highway breakdowns. While your first instinct may be to pull over, pop the hood, and inspect the problem, these actions could put you in serious danger, particularly on major interstates. Tractor trailers, tankers, semis, and other big rigs take up considerable space on the road, and their drivers sit high in a cab, reducing their visibility. Both of these factors increase your risks if you suffer a flat tire or automotive break down, and could result in potentially fatal collisions.
Dangerous Automotive Breakdowns
Unfortunately, many of us are familiar with that sinking feeling when you know your vehicle is not functioning the way it should. It may be the thud of a flat tire, a decrease in acceleration, or sputtering before stalling occurs. In any situation, this can put you in danger, particularly at night or if there is heavy traffic and other motorists on the road. When it happens on one of the major highways or interstates in our area, the results can be deadly.
The Tampa Bay Times reported on this type of situation which occurred across the state on Highway 301. A man had broken down and was attempting to push the disabled vehicle off the road, when he was fatally struck by an approaching truck. The collision happened in the early morning hours, and the truck driver claimed he did not see the man pushing his disabled Nissan. Since the vehicle was experiencing mechanical problems, there were no lights or flasher to alert the trucker to the victim or his situation.
Protecting Yourself During a Breakdown
While it is natural to focus on getting your car back in running order, your first priority in a breakdown needs to be your own safety. Being stranded on the side of the road, particularly in areas interstate corridors where trucks regularly travel, is one of the most dangerous situations a driver can find themselves in. For this reason, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends having your vehicle maintained on a regular basis and fixing any issues at the first sign of trouble. If you are involved in a breakdown, they recommend following these tips:
- Pull over immediately if you can at the first sign of trouble, rather than waiting for your vehicle to stop functioning completely;
- Make note of your location and any landmarks nearby to alert the police and tow truck companies;
- On multi lane highways, pull over as far as possible on the far right shoulder. On interstates you may be able to use the left shoulder as well.
- Get out of your vehicle and stand away from traffic as far as possible. Do not attempt repairs on the side of the road.
- Notify law enforcement, and wait patiently for help to arrive.
In the event an accident does occur, our Fort Pierce car and truck accident attorney is here to help. Call or contact Gregg Wexler at the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. online and request a free consultation to discuss your case today.