Seeing a car pull over onto the shoulder is not an uncommon sight. Bad weather, flat tires, bad traffic, engine trouble, distracted driving are just some of the many reasons that have led drivers to take to the shoulder. As a result of areas along our roadways being narrow or congested, there is a high risk of a vehicle colliding with a parked car. After a collision with a parked vehicle, determining liability can be challenging. This is where we at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm can help.
If your vehicle is involved in a collision while parked on the shoulder or the slow lane of the highway, get in touch with us. We understand how hard it is to navigate through all the information out there to find out what you legally deserve. Our injury and accident attorneys can analyze your case and determine how much compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today at (833) 254-2923 for a free consultation.
A broken-down vehicle on the side of the road is a common sight. It’s usually due to an overheating engine, running out of gas, or some other issue. But, one of the most frequent driving mistakes that people make is pulling onto the shoulder of the road instead of re-entering traffic far enough away from the vehicle in front. Drivers who pull over to the shoulder without providing adequate space on the shoulder and closest lane increase the chances of accidents.
While it is essential to stop your vehicle if there is a vehicle on the shoulder of the road, it is dangerous to misjudge the appropriate distance due to traffic speed. It may be necessary to pull over quickly to avoid an accident, but it can still create problems for you or other drivers on the road if you are too close. In Georgia, there is a Move Over Law that states that if a vehicle is parked on the side of a road with flashers activated, a driver must move over one lane away from the parked car or slow down.
Move Over Law in Georgia
It is a sad statistic that more than 1,200 people have died in work zone collisions nationwide over the past decade, and that number continues to rise each year. The Move Over Law requires drivers to move over, slow down, or change lanes when approaching an emergency vehicle with flashing lights. The law exists to protect public safety workers like firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers.
The code governing the Move Over Law is 40-6-16. It states that if you see an emergency vehicle or utility vehicle parked on the side of the road with lights flashing, or if you come up behind one while it’s working on getting traffic moving again, move over one lane.
When there isn’t room to move over because of traffic or road conditions, drivers should slow down until it is safe to move over. This law typically includes mandatory fines for anyone found violating these rules and restrictions any time the violation results.
How Dangerous Is The Shoulder of the Road?
There are different types of emergency breakdowns that can occur in your vehicle when you least expect it. These include when you are on the highway when your tire blows out, there is a sudden engine failure, or maybe your car cuts off in the middle of the wilderness. Over 1.500 people are injured or killed every year due to pulling off the road for other reasons than an emergency.
When a car accident occurs on the road’s shoulder, determining fault can be a tricky determination. In a head-on collision on the road, it is often easy to determine liability. However, in some cases, the fault for a motor vehicle accident on the shoulder of the road may not be as apparent.
If your tire ever blows out on the road, don’t panic, and don’t slam on your brakes! If your steering wheel starts shaking uncontrollably, take off your gas entirely and calmly start slowing down until you can safely pull over. Make sure you signal to other drivers that you are moving into the breakdown lane. Then, park as far away from cars as possible and call the police to get a tow truck.
What Are The Causes of Shoulder of the Road Accidents?
The shoulder of the road is a convenient place to pull over because it’s usually adjacent to a lane where you can continue driving. Unfortunately, this convenience makes the shoulder of the road a prevalent location for drivers who need to stop. Although convenient, this is a dangerous place for several reasons.
The lack of visibility can cause drivers to pull over without realizing they are on the road’s shoulder, usually narrower than the main roadway. If another motorist was stopped and did not see you approach, you could find yourself in an accident.
Motorists pull over more frequently during the winter and summer. This is because vehicles are at an increased likelihood of breakdown due to extreme heat or extreme cold. While the most typical reasons for stopping in the shoulder of the road include issues with tires, engine problems, running out of fuel, and immediate problems with braking systems, there are a variety of other situations that may arise when you least expect them.
Drivers should always pull off the road when dealing with distractions, slower speeds, or detours. However, parking on the shoulder of the road is very hazardous as it creates an obstacle that prevents other drivers from using their turn lane. With many roads only having one lane for each direction, it could also cause traffic backups. It is almost always best to find a safe spot away from traffic, even if it means going a little out of the way.
How to Pullover Safely and Properly?
Always pull as far as possible from the shoulder before stopping. If you must stop on the shoulder, turn your wheels towards the rightmost emergency lane. If you are on the interstate-highway or other major roadway, try to move YOUR vehicle entirely off of the road.
That way, both lanes of traffic will be able to continue to flow. If you cannot drive your vehicle entirely off the roadway, turn on your hazard lights, place road flares behind your car, and back your car within 10 feet of the guard rail. Always make sure that you are away from moving vehicles before attempting to exit your vehicle after an accident.
Determining the liability in a Shoulder of a Road Auto Accident
Like most accidents, the circumstances surrounding a shoulder of the road crash can differ with each collision. Because of this, it can be challenging to determine whether or not one party was entirely at fault. In some cases, where there are no markings, parking lanes, or other indicators that separate the shoulder from the travel lanes, liability can be harder to determine.
Fault can be determined in a shoulder of the road accident case by investigating the intersection where the accident occurred. The investigation would focus on whether or not there were traffic signs or signals if it was an intersection with dual directional traffic and what factors may have contributed to the accident.
Determining fault also requires an evaluation of any persons involved. The physical characteristics, health history, prior injuries, and mental state at the time of the accident are factors that may be relevant. So are any previous insurance claims or convictions that involve traffic violations.
In most cases, the driver presumed at fault in a shoulder-of-the-road accident will need to prove negligence on the other party’s part. To prove this, the driver must show that there was a duty (a legal obligation) for the negligent party to avoid or not impede upon traffic and that this party breached (failed) to perform their duty by not exercising due care while operating their vehicle.
Why Seek Help from Injury Attorneys at Ali Awad?
On rural roads and highways, shoulder accidents can lead to serious bodily injuries or fatalities. This is because traffic on the lanes moves very fast and is usually closer to the lane of travel than other roadway segments. Trucks, cars, and buses may also strike pedestrians and bicyclists standing on the shoulder. Drivers fail to realize that pulling over on the shoulder of a highway or road actually increases their risk of being involved in an accident or injury.
If you have suffered a serious injury in an accident caused by someone else, you’re likely entitled to compensation to help pay for your recovery. The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm can help you seek that compensation. When accidents occur, our firm works tirelessly on behalf of all our clients to ensure they are provided the comprehensive, aggressive representation they need when facing the complex recovery process.
Our team is committed to helping auto accident victims get settled to the best of our abilities when it comes to recovery. Call at (833) 254-2923, or visit our website to schedule your free consultation.