From my experience as a Marietta Injury Lawyer, collisions on the Interstates are typically the most likely to cause death and serious injury. There are a number of reasons for this including the increased speed limits and the large number of tractor trailers that use the freeways. It is extremely dangerous to stop your vehicle on the interstate, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. There are some steps you can take to reduce this danger.
Except for emergencies, never voluntarily stop your vehicle on the interstate. However, if your car breaks down on the Interstate, get your vehicle to the right shoulder as quickly and safely as possible. If you stay in your vehicle keep your seatbelt on. If you are going to get out of the vehicle use the passenger’s door to exit the vehicle. Once out of the vehicle, do not stand near your vehicle or any travel or emergency lanes. Put some safe distance between yourself and the roadway and call 511 (HERO vehicles) and 911. However, sometimes car trouble is immediate and it is not always possible to get over to the right shoulder.
Personal injury lawyers in Atlanta and Marietta sometimes see the more difficult situation when cars break down in interstate travel lanes. This is a terrible situation. Even with the use of hazard lights, it is often difficult for drivers to appreciate a vehicle is stopped on the interstate. When cars are rear-ended at highway speeds the results are often fatal. The Georgia State Patrol and DOT officials recommend you stay in your vehicle, call 911 and 511, and wait for help to arrive. However, State Patrol officers I have talked to say they probably would not sit in a car stopped in a travel lane for fear of getting blasted by a fast moving vehicle. One must use their best judgment when confronted with this situation because leaving your vehicle to walk or run to a safe location can also be extremely dangerous.
Do your best to make your vehicle conspicuous. In addition to using your hazard lights there are other ways to make it more obvious your vehicle is stopped. Only if it is safe to do so, you can open your hood, open your trunk, and place reflective triangles behind your vehicle. If dark outside, turn on all your interior lights. If you can’t get safely away from the roadway, stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on. Never stand near your vehicle.
Another dangerous Interstate activity is changing flat tires. If you can change the tire without being close to traffic, then it is probably best to do so. You would probably safely be able to get your car back on the road before a tow truck could get to you. However, if changing the tire puts you close to traveling vehicles, you should consider towing the vehicle to a safe location.
The HERO program was expanded in 2005 and is regarded as one of the better accident response programs in the country. From my experience HERO units have good response times and this should be considered when deciding whether to stay in your vehicle or not.