A car stopped on the northbound lanes of I-95, north of Okeechobee Boulevard near exit 71, was rear-ended by another car early Sunday morning, resulting in the death of a passenger and serious injuries to the two drivers. While it is unclear why the car was stopped, it is important for all drivers to be aware of the dangers of stopped vehicles on Florida highways.
Ensuring that your vehicle is properly maintained and has an appropriate amount of fuel for your trip are among two of the most basic tips to follow to prevent a sudden breakdown. Oftentimes, however, obstacles in the roadway or a vehicle defect can result in a flat tire or another incident that results in the driver having to brake suddenly or stop his or her vehicle while driving.
According to AAA, millions of motorists each year have trouble with their automobile while traveling. The motorists’ group states that the manner in which you deal with vehicle trouble “can have a direct bearing on your personal safety,” as well as that of others. The group recommends that prior to stopping you assess the situation quickly and be aware of your surroundings to stay as safe as possible and to prevent a potential accident.
Ideally, you should immediately pull off to the right shoulder of the highway and coast along the shoulder so that you are visible to approaching cars and are not hidden by curves in the road or other barriers. If you are able to pull back onto the highway this will play in your favor as you will be able to see approaching traffic easily.
If your vehicle shuts down and is inoperable while on the highway, it is important to make your car as visible as possible — and as quickly as possible. Your safety should be your priority, and making your vehicle fully visible to other motorists is critical to you, your passengers, and to other vehicles on the highway. Turn on your flashers and once it is safe to exit your car, place a cone or flare nearby, if you have them. Also, consider hanging a brightly colored garment out the window or raising your hood and tying the garment to it.
AAA adds, however, “if you are uncertain about your safety and think your vehicle may get struck from behind do not stay in your vehicle.” Trying to get out and run to the side of the road could be deadly so use extreme caution when crossing lanes of the highway.
We recognize there are times when it is necessary to stop your vehicle when traveling on Florida highways. We encourage any stranded motorist to make every effort to pull safely off the highway. All other drivers should stay focused on driving safely and stay alert for sudden stops or obstacles on the highway.
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