Most people understand the risks associated with driving. Car accidents cost the lives of thousands of people every year. One risk that likely does not occur to drivers is the risk associated with stepping out of a car or truck after an accident or due to a breakdown. Over the past twelve months, eleven people lost their lives in accidents that came after they exited their vehicles. Police are aware of the danger of standing next to a vehicle on the roadside, but other people may not appreciate the danger they are in.
Just last weekend, three people were involved in a fatal car accident. Two victims stepped out of their vehicle after hitting a tree. Another driver stopped to help and the three were standing beside the vehicle when a passing car struck them. One of the three was killed instantly while the other two passed away later from their injuries. The accident has raised the profile of the dangers people face on Florida roadsides.
A similar accident last March claimed the lives of four people. While the driver in that situation was driving under the influence, both cases followed minor car accidents and happened during early morning hours. Several South Florida roadways have drawn the attention of safety groups for having narrow shoulders or insufficient room between the road and safety barriers. It is not clear if the width of the shoulder played a role in either accident.
Regardless of the time of day or the location, a driver should be very careful before stepping out of their vehicle. Passengers are encouraged to remain in the vehicle unless safety requires that they leave. Drivers, as always, are encouraged to pay attention and give stopped cars a wide berth when passing.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “South Florida roads prove dangerous for people not in their cars,” by Robert Nolin, 23 January 2012