Shoulder of the Highway & Road Accidents Are Injuring and Killing More People Than You Realize
One of the most dangerous types of auto accidents on the road are shoulder accidents, whereby people get injured or killed after they have pulled over on the shoulder or side of the road; usually because they are dealing with some kind of car trouble, such as a blown or flat tire. According to some statistics, 12 percent of all highway deaths result from these shoulder accidents, resulting in approximately 600 deaths per year; in addition to thousands of injuries.
Why Is This Happening?
Many might wonder how it is possible for this many accidents to occur, given that these individuals are completely out of the road. According to some experts, the numbers can be explained by several phenomena: First, that drivers often unconsciously drive towards what they are focusing on (the driver/car/lights pulled off to the side of the road), even though the law in states like Texas mandates that you move out of the lane closest to the vehicle (or flashing police car, for example) and, in addition, a number of people are killed as they attempt to leave the shoulder of the road and re-enter traffic because of how fast oncoming traffic is traveling.
What to Do to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself – according to highway patrol troopers – is to avoid slamming on the brakes if your tire blows out and, instead, take your foot off the gas while you gradually slow down and signal to other drivers that you are pulling over. Once you reach the shoulder of the road, don’t just put your hazard lights on; call 911 or another service to request roadside assistance. And if there is no shoulder to pull off onto when you have this emergency, do the same thing – slow down and put your flashers on while you, instead, pull over at the closest exit.
What Can the Government Do to Increase Safety?
Arguably, urban planning could also go a lot further in addressing this issue by:
Ensuring that regulatory signs that restrict parking are placed on the shoulders where issues have occurred (especially near rest areas);
Adjusting standard design for strips on shoulders of interstates and parkways to provide a warning to drivers when vehicles leave the roadway; and
Raising public awareness concerning this issue; at a minimum.
Contact Our Texas Auto Accident Attorneys If You Have Been Harmed in A Shoulder Accident
If your vehicle breaks down, you have the right to be on the side of the road. If someone hits you and you or injured or a loved one is killed by that vehicle, you have the right to obtain compensation for your injuries and/or loss. Contact our Houston auto accident attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help.