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Avoiding a Highway Shoulder Accident

Avoiding Highway Shoulder Accidents

Highway shoulders are created as a safe zone for cars to pull off in case of emergencies; unfortunately, they aren’t the safest area to avoid an accident. According to AAA, approximately 12% of all interstate highway deaths involve a vehicle on the highway shoulder.

Causes of Accidents on a Highway Shoulder

  • Side-swipes/Rear-ending: Some drivers may not brake enough when a vehicle slows to pull off the highway into the shoulder.
  • Flying Debris: When a vehicle goes over an object on the highway, it could potentially hit the car located on the shoulder. Even the smallest particle of debris can cause severe damage at rapid speeds.
  • Not Paying Attention: Just being on the highway shoulder is dangerous. If someone wasn’t paying attention and hit the vehicle, it could be fatal.
  • Re-entry: Finding a reasonable re-entry period on a busy highway can be challenging if pulled off the shoulder. If you don’t pick up enough speed, you risk causing an accident with the other vehicles going fast.

Safety Precautions for Avoiding Highway Shoulder Crashes

  1. Signal your intentions: Using a turn signal and slowly decelerating lets drivers know you are preparing to pull over.
  2. Pull off to the right shoulder: Pulling off to the right shoulder can be safer when thinking about re-entry. Compared to the left lane, where cars go their fastest, the right will be easier and closer to an exit.
  3. Stay visible: Consider purchasing a roadside safety kit for these scenarios. Many of the kits come with cones, lights, etc., that will allow for more visibility to other vehicles, even at night.
  4. Call for help: When a serious emergency occurs, calling roadside assistance or 911 would be most beneficial. Their prompt responses will help you get help when you need it.
  5. Stay away from the highway: If you have called for help, the safest place to wait is inside the car. When attempting to fix the problem yourself, avoid being on the side closest to traffic.
  6. Keep your car stocked: It is essential to have the necessary tools in your vehicle if something happens. Fixing the problem quickly will allow a quick departure back onto the highway.
  7. Move over: If you see another vehicle pulled off on the shoulder, move over a lane if it is safe. Doing so will avoid simple mistakes that result in accidents.

If you or a loved one gets in a car accident on a highway shoulder, contact us today. Our Columbus car accident lawyers offer a free consultation and won’t charge anything unless you win. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO (1-800-355-6446) or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.