While driving down highways and interstates, we commonly see cars or trucks stopped on the side of the road. Whether a vehicle ran out of gas, a driver needs to make a phone call, or in worst-case scenarios, an accident took place, many motorists pull over onto the shoulder of the roadway when necessary. However, many drivers fail to realize how dangerous this simple action can be. Just last Monday two truck drivers were killed after a semi tractor-trailer struck both of their tractor trailers parked on the side of southbound Interstate 65 near the Illinois/Indiana border.
Jconline.com released that the first truck driver, a 44-year-old man from Downers Grove, pulled his Freightliner semi trailer on the southbound shoulder of the interstate around 7:15am. The second truck driver, a 31-year old man from Romeoville, also parked his Freightliner on the shoulder. Both men were standing outside of the trucks and were working to unhitch one of their trailers.
A southbound semi-tractor trailer driven by a 42-year-old from Berwyn reportedly failed to notice the stopped trucks. He clipped the back of one of the trucks and then hit both of the drivers, continuing down the interstate until he veered off of the road and into a ditch. The impact killed the first driver right away, while the second driver died at a local hospital. The southbound lanes of the interstate were closed for more than three hours as authorities investigated the scene. Police determined that both drivers had reflective vests on, but their trucks’ flashers were not working.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that approximately 12% of all interstate highway deaths are pedestrians walking in the middle of the roadway or on the shoulder, adding up to about 610 people per year throughout the country. The shoulder of the highway can be a very dangerous place; unless there is an emergency, it should be avoided. This is especially true at night, when drivers are often fatigued and have trouble seeing what is on the shoulder.
If you must stop on the shoulder for an emergency, pulling over on the right shoulder instead of the left is believed to be safer. Pull as far off of the road as you can and turn your hazard lights on. Do not stand around your vehicle and step far away from the roadway. If you are driving and you see a vehicle stopped on the shoulder, try to move over to the next lane if you can do so safely.
Our wrongful death attorneys want all motorists to remain safe on Illinois roadways this summer. Those involved in an accident on the shoulder of the road may have legal recourse available to them. Please contact us for more information.