hazard marker for car pulled onto highway shoulderHighway shoulders are exceedingly dangerous places for both pedestrians and motorists alike. Although they’re specifically meant for emergency situations and emergency vehicles, hundreds of people are killed every year on highway shoulders while awaiting assistance, changing a tire, hooking up to a tow truck, or dealing with a police officer.

According to recent data taken from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 12 percent of all interstate highway deaths are caused by a vehicle using the shoulder. This means that an estimated 600 people a year are killed—and thousands more are injured—while making emergency stops off the highway. 

Shoulder Accident Dangers During Emergency Pull-Offs

Highways were designed with shoulders to allow a space for vehicles to pull off in an emergency. So, what is it about shoulders that are so risky? The following are factors in many road shoulder crashes:

  • Speed and darkness. Highway traffic travels at high rates of speed, making it difficult for drivers to accurately assess what is happening on the shoulder. Additionally, shoulders are very dark at night. These factors make you vulnerable when you are on the shoulder waiting for help.
  • Driver confusion. Although they’re meant for just that purpose, drivers seldom expect to see cars on the side of the road, let alone pedestrians standing close to the highway. This confusion can lead some drivers to overcorrect and swerve toward you—or to fail to see you at all—and cause a tragic collision.
  • Pedestrian accidents. When you are out of your car on the shoulder, you have no protection from fast-moving traffic, so the likelihood of a serious or even fatal accident are much higher than if you were in your car.
  • Leaving the road. When you slow down to pull off onto the shoulder, cars behind you could potentially rear-end you, side-swipe you, or collide straight into you.
  • Re-entering collisions. If you successfully manage to fix your problem without suffering any injuries, you still must be able to re-enter traffic and get back up to speed safely. Many shoulder accidents occur when drivers are trying to merge back onto the highway.

Do You Have a Claim for Damages?

When you’re faced with an emergency situation on the highway and are unable to exit, your best option is to move onto the shoulder. Unfortunately, careless, oblivious, and reckless drivers can still put you in a lot of danger, despite your efforts to protect yourself.

When you have done everything right, but you or a loved one is seriously injured in a collision on the shoulder anyway, you could be entitled to compensation from the driver who caused the crash. Let us evaluate your case in order to determine if the other driver acted negligently and is liable for your losses. Don’t allow someone else’s mistake to disrupt your future.

Contact us now or call us at 540-341-0007 to take the first step toward recovering the compensation you deserve after a devastating highway shoulder accident.

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