Stranded motorists should be wary of other drivers

Published 6:51 am Friday, July 27, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

More drivers may put themselves in danger when stranded in oncoming traffic due to a car crash or vehicle breakdown. An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle related fatalities in the first quarter of 2012. That represents a 13.5 percent increase from the same time period in 2011, according to the National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration.

Last week a man was killed in Florida while trying to push his broken down car out of the way of oncoming traffic. Local law enforcement said he did not have the vehicle’s emergency lights on and therefore it was difficult for anyone to see him.

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Emergency responders, like law enforcement, paramedics, and tow truck drivers are killed each year while assisting stranded motorist on the side of the road. These professionals are trained to take safety precautions to protect everyone at the scene of a crash. However, even with the high visibility of these emergency response vehicles, so many motorists do not see them or are driving while distracted.

Since every situation is unique, it is difficult to advise people to be safe in every scenario when they are in the path of oncoming traffic. AAA recommends stranded motorists call law enforcement immediately if they feel unsafe and are concerned other motorists may not see them.

AAA Tips: How to Stay Safe When Stranded on Roadside

Motorists stranded on the roadside should always take extra precautions to make sure they are safe, including:

• Pull off to the right side of the road. Try to pull over onto the shoulder where you are not in danger of getting struck by traffic.

• Turn on your hazard lights. Make certain you are visible to other drivers by turning on your vehicle’s emergency flashers. If your lights do not work, exit the vehicle and stay out of oncoming traffic.

• Exit your vehicle opposite the side of oncoming traffic. If you exit your vehicle, wait as far away from it and traffic as possible. Try to stand on a sidewalk or behind a guardrail.

• Call the police for assistance. If you are concerned for your safety and need assistance with traffic control, call local law enforcement for help.