Fender Bender Auto Accident Turned Deadly – Pedestrian Accident
After a minor accident, the drivers of two cars pulled over to the side of Division Road and State Route 3 in Kitsap County, likely to exchange information. But one of the drivers, a 52-year-old man, collapsed for unknown reasons into the roadway and another car driving southbound hit him. He died at the scene of the accident.
It happened just before 5:30 pm, near Gorst. Troopers originally thought that one of the cars drove off, but later confirmed they had not. Thankfully, everyone involved stopped. Troopers do not believe that drugs or alcohol are factors in the collision.
The Washington State Patrol wants to remind all drivers to make safe choices, even if they have to pull over. “When it’s dark out, wet out, heavy rain conditions, please just slow down, watch out for other drivers, watch out for other people in the roadway,” said WSP Sgt. Scott Gordon. “After a collision, pull all the way onto the shoulder or pull where it is safe to do so. Get clear of the roadway and don’t be on the traffic side of your vehicles. You need to be on the opposite side, the ditch side.” http://komonews.com/news/local/pedestrian-killed-along-sr-3-in-kitsap-county
Danger in the Dark for Pedestrians
The shoulder of a highway is a very dangerous place to be. Yet, it’s not uncommon to see a vehicle temporarily side-lined with a breakdown of some kind. It could be a flat tire, mechanical problems, or even an empty gas tank–necessitating the driver to pull over on the shoulder of the road.
As traffic flies by, one always hopes that oncoming motor vehicles are paying attention and can accommodate the distressed drivers that are using the shoulder to handle the interruptions in their own travels. Every oncoming driver has a responsibility to move to the left and give some space as needed, for everyone’s safety. This is already a recognized law when it comes to moving over for law enforcement and first responders, but is just the courteous thing to do for fellow drivers. Safety is always the primary goal in every situation on the roadway—moving or stalled. Unfortunately, some of the break-downs go from bad to worse because of elements out of their control–like the oncoming traffic.
Distracted or Inattentive to their Surroundings
Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration narrow down some of the reasons why a stranded vehicle or stranded driver’s safety can be jeopardized on the side of the road. Some of those close calls or physical contact with those on the shoulder were caused by things that had to do with human error rather than the condition of the road–like distraction and inattention. These kinds of performance errors have led to many near-misses, unexpected impacts, and hundreds of fatalities every year. When casual drivers fail to recognize distance or react with enough time to correct their driving errors, they can sometimes adversely contribute to unfortunate circumstances for those on stuck on the shoulder of the road. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811059
Give them a Brake and Move Over
The AAA Foundation estimates around 12% of interstate highway deaths started out as just shoulder accidents on the side of the road. Many were needlessly killed and thousands more injured due to the misuse of or ignoring of the highway shoulders. Most of the shoulder victims obeyed the emergency laws and used the easement as a safe haven from oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, some were not protected there because of the poor decisions of other drivers, inclement weather conditions, or existential circumstances.
5 Freeway Breakdown Tips
If a driver is stranded due to a vehicle breakdown on a roadway, here are five tips to be sure and remember:
- Pull over and out of traffic if possible. Even if all of the emergency lights are on, some highway drivers do not pay close attention and could rear-end the disabled vehicle, causing further damage or injury.
- The driver shouldn’t attempt to fix the vehicle, even if it appears it’s going to be a quick or easy fix. Wait for professional help to arrive.
- Only exit the vehicle if it is necessary or safe to do so. If possible, raise the vehicle hood to alert passing authorities that the vehicle is disabled and help is needed.
- Patience is a virtue in breakdown situations. Particularly in heavily trafficked metropolitan areas, highways are regularly patrolled by police and tow truck operators — help will arrive soon.
- Lastly–make sure to keep a copy of your insurance policy and agent phone number in the vehicle at all times.
There are always things that we can do better to keep those on the shoulder of the road safer. Remember to always use the vehicle’s hazard lights–day and night. Make yourself visible with more light. At nighttime, turn internal lights on as well–like the dome light and also leave the headlights on to be more visible.
And like WSP Sgt. Gordon cautioned, always stay to the passenger or ditch-side of the car. The more distance between you and the oncoming traffic, the better!
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