Most of us have found ourselves standing or parked on the side of a busy road at some point, whether it was due to a stalled vehicle or because we were pulled over by law enforcement for speeding or another traffic violation. You may have even stopped to get some shut-eye to avoid driving while you were too tired.
Whatever the reason, if you pull over to the side of a highway or other road with heavy traffic, you should keep in mind that you're still in proximity to speeding cars and risk being involved in a serious car accident. Even vehicles whose drivers can see you may hit a slippery spot in the road and veer into you or your vehicle. Some motorists may even be distracted enough by your presence that they forget to watch for cars in front of them, which could lead to a multi-vehicle crash -- easily involving you.
A San Jose, California, man was killed in a car accident last weekend on northbound Interstate 680 in Milpitas while he was parked on the shoulder of the freeway. According to a California Highway Patrol officer, the 29-year-old man pulled over his BMW, stopped and "passed out" behind the wheel. Someone had reported the car on the side of the road at 3:13 a.m. By the time police arrived about 10 minutes later, another car had crashed into the BMW. Both drivers, who were wearing seat belts, were rushed to a hospital, where the BMW driver was pronounced dead. The other driver, a 40-year-old woman, suffered moderate injuries and was expected to survive.
Police are investigating whether the BMW driver had consumed drugs or alcohol; it's not clear whether he was "passed out" from being under the influence or simply needed some rest. Regardless of the reason, the other driver seems to have caused the accident by hitting the other car.
Unfortunately, accidents of this type are all too common, and almost always result in serious injury or death. California's Move Over law, which requires motorists to move over one lane if highway workers, emergency vehicles, tow trucks or police cars are on the side of the road, is a good rule to follow with any pulled-over vehicle and may very well save lives -- including your own.
Source: San Jose Mercury News, "San Jose man killed, woman injured in I-680 crash in Milpitas," Chris De Benedetti, June 16, 2012
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.